Absolute risks of cervical precancer among women who fulfill exiting guidelines based on HPV and cytology cotesting

Rebecca Landy, Mark Schiffman, Peter D. Sasieni, Li C. Cheung, Hormuzd A. Katki, Greg Rydzak, Nicolas Wentzensen, Nancy E. Poitras, Thomas Lorey, Walter K. Kinney, Philip E. Castle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


US guidelines recommend that most women older than 65 years cease cervical screening after two consecutive negative cotests (concurrent HPV and cytology tests) in the previous 10 years, with one in the last 5 years. However, this recommendation was based on expert opinion and modeling rather than empirical data on cancer risk. We therefore estimated the 5-year risks of cervical precancer (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or adenocarcinoma in situ [CIN3]) after one, two and three negative cotests among 346,760 women aged 55–64 years undergoing routine cotesting at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (2003–2015). Women with a history of excisional treatment or CIN2+ were excluded. No woman with one or more negative cotests was diagnosed with cancer during follow-up. Five-year risks of CIN3 after one, two, and three consecutive negative cotests were 0.034% (95% CI: 0.023%–0.046%), 0.041% (95% CI: 0.007%–0.076%) and 0.016% (95% CI: 0.000%–0.052%), respectively (ptrend < 0.001). These risks did not appreciably differ by a positive cotest result prior to the one, two or three negative cotest(s). Since CIN3 risks after one or more negative cotests were significantly below a proposed 0.12% CIN3+ risk threshold for a 5-year screening interval, a longer screening interval in these women is justified. However, the choice of how many negative cotests provide sufficient safety against invasive cancer over a woman's remaining life represents a value judgment based on the harms versus benefits of continued screening. Ideally, this guideline should be informed by longer-term follow-up given that exiting is a long-term decision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-626
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • HPV
  • cervical cancer
  • cervical screening
  • cotesting
  • exiting
  • guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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