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mRNA Assay Less Sensitive Than DNA Assay for Latent HPV

A 69.3 percent difference was seen in HPV mRNA results compared with previous HPV DNA results

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THURSDAY, April 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The human papillomavirus (HPV) mRNA assays are less sensitive than HPV DNA assays for detection of latent HPV infection, according to a study published online March 8 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Sarah Cotton, from the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, and colleagues conducted a quality improvement study using data from a pathology laboratory to identify female patients aged 30 years or older with more than one HPV-positive result, including one or more HPV mRNA assay result and one or more documented HPV DNA assay result.

The researchers identified 425 charts for female patients aged 30 years or older with one or more prior high-risk HPV infections by DNA assay. Compared with previous HPV DNA-positive results, there was a 69.3 percent difference in HPV mRNA results. A potential change in follow-up was seen for 71.7 and 60.0 percent of patients with one prior high-risk HPV-positive result and with two or more prior high-risk HPV-positive results, respectively. A total of 231 colposcopy results were assessed; 26.8 percent were abnormal. Of the abnormal colposcopy findings, 25 (40.3 percent) were in patients with a history of at least two prior HPV DNA-positive results and a current negative mRNA HPV assay.

"Based on these data and the potential change in follow-up care, the HPV mRNA assay should not be used for a primary screening tool for cervical cancer," the authors write.

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