Objective: Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) Pap results do not typically lead to human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. HPV triage is not cost-effective because most cases are HPV-positive. However, under new national guidelines recommending cotesting for women aged 30 to 64 years, clinicians will increasingly receive the HPV test result with LSIL Pap results. Some authors have suggested that HPV triage might be effective at older ages, when the percentage of HPV positivity among women with LSIL declines.
Methods: We estimated 5-year risks of CIN 2+ and CIN 3+ among 9,033 women aged 30 to 64 years who had both an HPV test and an LSIL Pap result.
Results: HPV positivity among women with LSIL decreased only slightly with age (30 to 34 vs 60 to 64 years, 88% vs 72%, p < .0001). The 5-year risks of CIN 2+ and CIN 3+ of women aged 30 to 64 years testing HPV-positive/LSIL were larger than those among women testing HPV-negative/LSIL (CIN 2+, 19% vs 5.1%, p < .0001; CIN 3+, 6.1% vs 2.0%, p<.0001). The 5-year risk of CIN 3+ in HPV-negative/LSIL women was similar to that for women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US) Pap test result without knowledge of HPV test results (2.0% vs 2.6%, p = .4).
Conclusions: HPV-negative/LSIL posed lower risk than other Pap results that guidelines currently recommend for referral to immediate colposcopy. By the principle of “equal management of equal risks,” women with HPV-negative/LSIL might reasonably be managed similarly to those with ASC-US Pap results without knowledge of HPV testing, that is, retesting at 6 to 12 months, rather than immediate colposcopy. Although the HPV test result for LSIL Pap results provides actionable information to clinicians who screen with cotesting, the high HPV positivity of LSIL at even the oldest ages suggests the lack of cost-effectiveness of HPV triage of LSIL for clinicians who do not use routine cotesting.
Because women with HPV-negative/LSIL cotest results have low risk for CIN 3+, they might be better managed by being retested in 6 to 12 months rather than referred for immediate colposcopy.
1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD; 2Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; 3Regional Laboratory, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Berkeley, CA; 4Information Management Services Inc, Calverton, MD; 5Women’s Health Research Institute, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, CA; and 6Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Oakland, CA
Reprint requests to: Hormuzd A. Katki, PhD, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 6120 Executive Blvd Room 8014, EPS MSC 7244, Bethesda, MD 20882. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Walter K. Kinney, MD, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Sacramento Medical Center, 1650 Response Rd, Sacramento, CA 95815. E-mail: email@example.com
Drs Schiffman and Gage report working with Qiagen, Inc, on independent evaluations of noncommercial uses of CareHPV (a low-cost human papillomavirus [HPV] test for low-resource regions) for which they have received research reagents and technical aid from Qiagen at no cost. They have received free testing of specimens for research from Roche. Dr Castle has received compensation for serving as a member of a Data and Safety Monitoring Board for HPV vaccines for Merck and also received HPV tests and testing for research at a reduced or no cost from Qiagen, Roche, MTM, and Norchip. Dr Castle is a paid consultant for BD, GE Healthcare, and Cepheid and has received a speaker honorarium from Roche. The other authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.
The Intramural Research Program of the US National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute reviewed the final article for publication. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved use of the data, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Human Subjects Research deemed this study exempt from IRB review.