Using the Cancer Risk Management Model to evaluate the health and economic impacts of cytology compared with human papillomavirus DNA testing for primary cervical cancer screening in Canada

C. Popadiuk, C.L. Gauvreau, M. Bhavsar, C. Nadeau, K. Asakawa, W.M. Flanagam, M.C. Wolfson, A.J. Coldman, S. Memon, N. Fitzgerald, J. Lacombe, A.B. Miller



In Canada, discussion about changing from cytology to human papillomavirus (hpv) dna testing for primary screening in cervical cancer is ongoing. However, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has not yet made a recommendation, concluding that the evidence is insufficient.


We used the cervical cancer and hpv transmission models of the Cancer Risk Management Model to study the health and economic outcomes of primary cytology compared with hpv dna testing in 14 screening scenarios with varying screening modalities and intervals. Projected cervical cancer cases, deaths, colposcopies, screens, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness were evaluated. We performed sensitivity analyses for hpv dna test costs.


Compared with triennial cytology from age 25, 5-yearly hpv dna screening alone from age 30 resulted in equivalent incident cases and deaths, but 55% (82,000) fewer colposcopies and 43% (1,195,000) fewer screens. At hpv dna screening intervals of 3 years, whether alone or in an age-based sequence with cytology, screening costs are greater, but at intervals of more than 5 years, they are lower. Scenarios on the cost-effectiveness frontier were hpv dna testing alone every 10, 7.5, 5, or 3 years, and triennial cytology starting at age 21 or 25 when combined with hpv dna testing every 3 years.


Changing from cytology to hpv dna testing as the primary screening test for cervical cancer would be an acceptable strategy in Canada with respect to incidence, mortality, screening and diagnostic test volumes.


Human papillomavirus; cervical cancer; screening; cytology; hpv dna; modelling; Canada

Full Text:



Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)