Primary HPV screening for cervical cancer: Results after two screening rounds in a regional screening program in Finland

Olga Veijalainen, Saara Kares, Laura Kotaniemi-Talonen, Paula Kujala, Risto Vuento, Tiina Luukkaala, Ivana Kholová, Johanna Mäenpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Since 2012, cervical cancer screening has been conducted with a primary high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) test and conventional cytology triage in the city of Tampere, Finland. The women who were screened with the hrHPV test in 2012 were invited to participate in the second screening round in 2017. The aim of the present report was to compare the number of colposcopy referrals and the number of histological high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL)+ (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia [CIN2+]) lesions between the first and second screening rounds of women of a specific age group who were screened twice with the hrHPV test. Material and methods: The primary hrHPV test used was the RealTime hrHPV PCR assay by Abbott. Women with a positive hrHPV test and cytology triage equal to or worse than low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or atypical glandular cells, favor neoplasia, were directly referred to colposcopy, whereas hrHPV-positive women with a negative or equivocal cytology triage were re-screened after approximately 12-16 months. hrHPV-negative women were scheduled for re-screening after 5 years. The present report focuses on the cohort of women who were screened twice with the hrHPV test, who were 35-55 years old in 2012, and 40-60 years old in 2017. Results: In all, 8076 women were invited for HPV screening in 2012 and 8331 women were invited for the second round 5 years later, with attendance rates of 70% and 71%, respectively. Of the women who were screened in 2012, 4571 (69%) belonged to the 35- to 55-year age cohort. In 2017, 4807 (73%) of the women aged 40-60 years participated in the screening. In this cohort, 185 (4.0%) colposcopies were performed in the first screening round, compared with 139 (2.9%) in the second round, and the colposcopy rate was 29% smaller in the second round (P =.002). The number of histological HSIL+ cases was 38 (0.8%) during the first screening round and 29 (0.6%) during the second round (P =.220). Conclusions: In the setting of routine organized cervical cancer screening, the initially high colposcopy rate associated with primary HPV screening seems to level off at the second screening round in women who were screened twice with an hrHPV test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-409
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Early online date9 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cervix
  • gyneoncology
  • human papillomavirus
  • human papillomavirus screening
  • infections
  • neoplasia
  • women's health issues

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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