Human papillomavirus (HPV)

The discovery of HPV as the cause of cervical cancer is revolutionizing cervical cancer prevention strategies.

Of more than 200 known types of HPV, most have been categorized as low-risk and are rarely associated with cervical cancer.1 However, certain high-risk HPV types can lead to cervical cancer.2,3 Of these, HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the highest risk types, associated with 70% of cervical cancer cases.3

The landmark ATHENA trial, as well as recent large longitudinal international randomized controlled clinical trials of HPV testing in cervical cancer screening have demonstrated that HPV primary screening is superior to Pap cytology alone and can be an effective cervical cancer prevention strategy.4


  1.  Doorbar, J., et al. (2015). “Human papillomavirus molecular biology and disease association.” Rev Med Virol 25 Suppl 1: 2-23.
  2.  Saslow D, Solomon D, Lawson HW, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62(3): 147-172. Available at: Accessed September 6, 2012.
  3.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human papillomavirus: Epidemiology and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. Available at: Accessed September 7, 2012.
  4. Wright TC, et al, Primary cervical cancer screening with human papillomavirus: End of study results from the ATHENA study using HPV as the first-lin…, Gynecol Oncol (2014),