Clinical Review

2017 Update on cervical disease

Findings from 2 studies answer key questions regarding cervical cancer screening. Plus, an explosion of new molecular technology applications has and continues to rapidly expand options for treatment and prevention of cervical cancer.

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Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and periodic cervical screening have significantly decreased the incidence of invasive cervical cancer. But cancers still exist despite the availability of these useful clinical tools, especially in women of reproductive age in developing regions of the world. In the 2016 update on cervical disease, I reviewed studies on 2 promising and novel immunotherapies for cervical cancer: HPV therapeutic vaccine and adoptive T-cell therapy. This year the focus is on remarkable advances in the field of genomics and related studies that are rapidly expanding our understanding of the molecular characteristics of cervical cancer. Rewards of this research already being explored include novel immunotherapeutic agents as well as the repurposed use of existing drugs.

But first, with regard to cervical screening and follow-up, 2 recent large studies have yielded findings that have important implications for patient management. One pertains to the monitoring of women who have persistent infection with high-risk HPV but cytology results that are negative. Its conclusion was unequivocal and very useful in the management of our patients. The other study tracked HPV screening performed every 3 years and reported on the diagnostic efficiency of this shorter interval screening strategy.

Read about persistent HPV infection and CIN

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