HealthDay News — The cobas human papillomavirus (HPV) test is an effective, one-test alternative to the current recommendation of screening with either a Pap test alone or a combination of the HPV test and a Pap test, according to an interim guidance report issued by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

“Our review of the data indicates that primary HPV testing misses less pre-cancer and cancer than cytology alone. The guidance panel felt that primary HPV screening can be considered as an option for women being screened for cervical cancer,” said Warner K. Huh, MD, Division Director and Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in a press release.

The cobas HPV test earned FDA approval in April 2014, as a first step in cervical cancer screening for female patients aged 25 years and older. The HPV test detects DNA from 14 types of HPV and included types 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers.

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Primary HPV testing should be considered starting at age 25 years, recommended the study authors. For women aged less than 25 years, current guidelines recommending a Pap test alone between at age 21 should be followed.

The new recommendations also state that women with negative results for a primary HPV test should not be tested again for three years, which is the same interval recommended for a normal Pap test results. An HPV test that is positive for HPV 16 and 18 should be followed with colposcopy.

The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists is still recommending that female patients aged 30 to 65 years be screened using either the Pap test alone, or co-tested with a combination of both the HPV test and a Pap test.

Roche Molecular Systems, headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., makes the cobas HPV test.


  1. Huh WK et al. Gynecology Oncology. 2015; doi: