Cervical cancer is the 11th leading cause of death from cancer for females in Japan. In 2005, there were 2486 deaths from cervical cancer, accounting for 1.8% of the total number of cancer deaths in Japan. Cervical cancer screening using conventional cytology has been conducted worldwide. The guideline for cervical cancer screening was developed based on the established method. The efficacies of conventional and liquid-based cytology, human papillomavirus testing alone and two combination methods were evaluated. On the basis of the balance of the benefits and harms, recommendations for population-based and opportunistic screening were formulated. Five methods of cervical cancer screening were evaluated. On the basis of the analytic framework involving key questions, 3450 articles published from January 1985 to October 2007 were selected using MEDLINE and other methods. After the systematic literature review, 66 articles were confirmed. The results of 33 studies were consistent, and the evidence was sufficient to evaluate the effect of conventional cytology screening. The accuracy of liquid-based cytology was almost equal to that of conventional cytology. Although human papillomavirus testing and combination methods showed high sensitivity, no study has evaluated the reduction in mortality from cervical cancer. Except for the possibility of overdiagnosis, no serious adverse effects of cervical cancer screening were found. Cervical cancer screening using conventional and liquid-based cytology is recommended for population-based and opportunistic screening due to sufficient evidence. Cervical cancer screening using either human papillomavirus testing alone or two combination methods is not recommended for population-based screening due to insufficient evidence.
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