Women who are fully vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) can safely

start screening for cervical cancer at a later age — and can be screened less

often — than current guidelines recommend, according to an analysis in the

Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers used a disease simulation model to assess the health and economic outcomes of various screening strategies in women fully vaccinated against HPV at age 12. Among the findings:

For those who received the bivalent or quadrivalent vaccine, screening every 5 years beginning at age 25 or 30 with either cytology or HPV testing was optimal in terms of health benefits and cost-effectiveness.
For those immunized with the nine-valent vaccine, screening every 10 years with HPV testing beginning at age 30 or 35 was optimal.
Currently recommended strategies — including cytology every 3 years starting at age 21 — "were inefficient."

The authors conclude: "Revisions in screening policies for vaccinated women are warranted."

By Amy Orciari Herman 

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

Cervical Cancer Screening Can Start Later, Be Less Frequent in HPV-Vaccinated Women