Move to replace Pap smear with HPV test meets with skepticism

By Deena Beasley LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. health experts recommended that a test for cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) be approved to replace Pap smears in screening most women for cervical cancer, but the plan met with some skepticism within the medical community. Roche Holding AG is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to market its cobas HPV test, which detects the DNA of 14 strains of the sexually-transmitted virus, as a stand-alone tool to screen for cervical cancer risk in women age 25 and older. But experts said it will be tough to convince doctors to move from the current testing guidelines, which call for the use of both Pap tests and HPV tests, since there have been no studies directly comparing the regimens. “The preferred method of screening right now is Pap tests and HPV together.
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