Human papilloma virus DNA and mRNA testing in the Irish screening population

Project status

Completed
 
 

Workstream

 

Last updated

Sun, 2015-05-03 17:46
HPV virus

Human papilloma virus is now recognised as the major cause of cervical cancer. Although other factors like smoking can contribute to your risk, the general consensus is, the presence of a high-risk type of human papilloma virus is necessary.

Most sexually active women have been exposed to human papilloma virus, which can infect the cervix. In most women the virus disappears naturally over time. However, some women have difficulty in getting rid of the virus particularly if they smoke. Persistent infection can lead to abnormal changes in the cervix. Women with these abnormal changes do not have symptoms - the only way they can be found is by checking them with a smear test.

Human papilloma virus is very common and most sexually active women will have been exposed to it. In the majority of women, the body's immune system fights off or suppresses the virus before it causes problems. When the infection doesn't go away on its own, certain types of papilloma virus that are called "high-risk", can cause cell changes that may develop into cervical cancer if not detected and treated early.

The purpose of this research program is to investigate the population prevalence of human papilloma virus in the Irish cervical screening population and use of human papilloma virus testing in the diagnosis, treatment and management of women in the Irish population with abnormal smears.

We will focus on the following groups of women:

  • Women with persistent low grade abnormal smears who have been referred for colposcopy.
  • Human papilloma virus testing in the post-treatment setting.
  • Human papilloma virus testing in women over 30 years of age.
  • Survey of human papilloma virus prevalence in the Irish population.

Sub projects

Women with persistent low grade abnormal smears who have been referred for colposcopy.

2-3% of all cervical smears will show mild abnormalities. A proportion of these women will have a persistent abnormal smear and be treated for this. We would like to investigate the value of incorporating a human papilloma virus test into the follow up of these women to try and identify which women are at increased risk of recurrent cervical disease.

Human papilloma virus testing in the post-treatment setting.

A small proportion of women who have been treated for high grade cervical disease will continue to have abnormal smear tests. This may be due to persistence of human papilloma virus infection in these women. We would like to develop a way of predicting the risk of cervical disease recurrence and therefore improve the management and treatment these women.

Human papilloma virus testing in women over 30 years of age.

While human papilloma virus infections are very common in younger women, cervical cancer is relatively rare. However as women age, human papilloma virus infections become less common, but the occurrence of cervical cancer increases. Thus, human papilloma virus infections in older women are of the most concern and are more likely to be persistent infections. Some countries recommend that women 30 and older be routinely tested for infection with high-risk types of human papilloma virus.

Survey of human papilloma virus prevalence in the Irish population.

Human papilloma virus infection is very common among sexually active women. There are 100's of types of human papilloma viruses, Some types are referred to as "low-risk" viruses because they rarely develop into cancer while other human papilloma virus types that are more likely to lead to the development of cancer are referred to as "high-risk." In our research study we wish to investigate which are the most prevalent types among the Irish population.

 

Study co-ordinators