Precision Prevention: The 2019 ASCCP Risk-Based Management Consensus Guidelines for Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening Tests and Cancer Precursors
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The approach to cervical cancer prevention has evolved significantly over the past two decades. HPV immunization has decreased the specificity of screening modalities and HPV-based testing has been replacing our previously successful morphology-only approach. Additionally, there is much more emphasis on providing precision
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The approach to cervical cancer prevention has evolved significantly over the past two decades. HPV immunization has decreased the specificity of screening modalities and HPV-based testing has been replacing our previously successful morphology-only approach. Additionally, there is much more emphasis on providing precision prevention, rather than the previously used “one-fits-all” management strategies. A number of new biomarkers are entering clinical practice and being integrated into cervical cancer screening and management in order to enable a more personalized assessment of the risk for precancer/cancer for an individual patient. The 2019 ASCCP Risk-Based Management Consensus Guidelines expand on the concept of “equal management for equal risk”. They consider a patient’s history in addition to current test results to provide recommendations for increased surveillance/treatment in patients at higher risk for CIN3+ while minimizing interventions for lower-risk patients who have new versus persistent HPV infection. Clinical management decisions are based on immediate risk and 5-year risk estimates for CIN3+, which are determined by referencing an extensive risk table compiled by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The course of action for a given patient is recommended by comparison of the risk in the risk database, to the predetermined clinical action thresholds. These guidelines address the need for simplification and offer some stability for the provider while being conducive to the incorporation of anticipated continued technologic advances in methods for cervical cancer prevention. Their enduring nature will allow for changes needed based on risk reduction as HPV vaccination uptake increases and vaccinated women reach screening age. Similarly, the design allows for the addition of new tests into the risk assessment calculations after their approval by applicable regulatory agencies and review/consensus approval by the ASCCP new technology and enduring guidelines workgroups. As cytopathologists, we must be familiar with the scientific advancements in primary and secondary prevention, evolving screening and management guidelines, and participate actively in the multidisciplinary approach for the prevention of cervical cancer.