The Pap test, the gold standard for detecting cervical cancer for 60 years, may be losing its luster.
An FDA advisory committee unanimously recommended this week that a particular HPV test become the first line of screening for the deadly disease.
The test developed by Roche detects the DNA of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is the cause of more than 99% of all cervical cancers. The Pap test is designed to look for abnormal squamous cells that could indicate cervical cancer. Both tests are performed with a vaginal swab.
Up until now, the Pap was the first test women had to detect the illness, with the HPV test as a second analysis. But if the FDA follows the advisory committee’s recommendations, that would change.
The committee, which voted unanimously to make the switch, would only allow the Roche cobas test to be used alone as the primary evaluation for women 25 years and older. Although there are other HPV tests available, the Roche test detects two strains of the virus that are found in 70% of all cervical cancers.