Last updated on March 2020

Screening Study for Cervical Pre-cancer and Cancer Prevention in South African Women.

Brief description of study

Nearly 8 000 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in South Africa per year; many are still undiagnosed and about 50% of diagnosed cases succumb per year. Although the current prevalence of pre-cancer cervical disease is largely unknown, data from local studies suggest regional differences and an increase in the prevalence of cytological abnormalities when compared with historical data. Low frequency in cytology screening is the primary factor attributable to development of invasive cervical cancer and almost one-third of all cervical cancer patients had previous negative cytology. Due to the low sensitivity of cytology it can be assumed that the true prevalence of pre-cancer disease is underestimated by all available data. One round of optimal cervical cytology will detect around 50% of existing pre-cancer cervical disease as identified and proven using colposcopy and directed biopsy. It is now widely accepted that primary screening with a human papilloma virus (HPV) test can improve the sensitivity of screening and that even a single round of HPV screening can rapidly reduce the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and related mortality within a few years.

South Africa has a high prevalence of HIV infection and a delay in or failure to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART). These facts, together with the largely unscreened status of the female population and the high incidence of cervical cancer all suggest that HPV infection and precursors to cervical cancer are both unusually common among South African women. Accurate current knowledge of the performance of newer generation HPV based screening tests in HIV-infected and general female population are essential for cost-analysis and planning for national prevention and screening programs. This study will aim to demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of new generation HPV deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) based screening assays in a South African setting.

The investigators hypothesize that HPV testing followed by normal and special cytology tests will be a successful screening model for a South African population.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02956031

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