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HPV screening for cervical cancer

PLOS ONE highly cited paper: Primary HPV Screening for Cervical Cancer Prevention in New Zealand

A 2016 paper led by researchers now at the Daffodil Centre is among PLOS ONE’s top 10% most cited papers published in that year. The paper investigated the potential impact of introducing a human papillomavirus- (HPV-) based cervical screening approach in New Zealand.  

The research 

In collaboration with the New Zealand Ministry of Health the team, including Professor Karen CanfellAssociate Professor Megan SmithDr Kate Simms and Dr Jie Bin Lew, evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of 5-yearly HPV-based cervical screening compared to New Zealand’s current 3-yearly cytology-based screening program.  

To perform the evaluations, the team used Policy1-Cervix – a comprehensive model of HPV transmission, vaccination, cervical screening and invasive cervical cancer validated against national population-based datasets. Sixteen potential strategies for HPV screening were considered. 

The team found primary HPV testing would be at least 15 per cent more effective in reducing cervical cancer deaths and incidence and would save the New Zealand Government around 4–13% in screening program costs per year. 

The impact 

These findings provided crucial evidence to the New Zealand Government, supporting the recent decision to transition their cervical screening program to a 5-yearly HPV-based testing. The changes to the program in New Zealand will be fully rolled out from 2023. 


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