The benefits and harms of risk-based screening for cervical cancer (WC2016-041)


Starting date: 01/11/2016

In 2017, the Dutch cervical cancer screening programme changes from cytology-based (PAP smear) to human papillomavirus (HPV) based screening. HPV is the causal virus of cervical cancer and the new screening test detects if HPV is present in the cervix.  In the new programme, the time to the next screening round depends on the woman’s age and the result of the HPV test. This is referred to as risk-based screening.

This study aims to assess the effects of risk-based screening on the long-term risks of acquiring an HPV infection and of developing cervical precancer. We will also evaluate whether risk-based screening may be improved in terms of costs, burden and effectiveness, by also considering the HPV results of preceding screening rounds. For this purpose, the data of an HPV screening trial – already conducted in 1998 to 2001 – will be linked to the results obtained in the new screening programme. This will create a large data set – including up to four screening rounds – enabling us to study such long-term effects. 


Principle Investigators:

Dr. Nienke Veldhuijzen

Dr. Hans Berkhof