Human papillomavirus assays and cytology in primary cervical screening of women aged 30 years and above

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In women aged ≥30 years, Human Papillomavirus testing will replace cytology for primary cervical screening. We compared Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2), cobas, CLART, and APTIMA HPV assays with cytology on 2869 SurePath samples from women undergoing routine screening at 30-65 years in Copenhagen, Denmark. Women with cytological abnormalities were managed according to routine recommendations, with 92% completeness. Those with cytology-normal/HPV-positive samples (on any of the four assays) were invited for repeated cytology and HPV testing in 1.5 year, and 58% had additional testing. HPV testing detected more ≥CIN3 than cytology (HC2: 35, cobas, CLART: 37, APTIMA: 34, cytology: 31), although statistically the differences were not significant. Cobas and CLART detected significantly more ≥CIN2 than cytology (cobas, CLART: 49, cytology: 39). The proportion of women with false-positive test results (positive test results without ≥CIN3) varied between 3.3% with cytology and 14.9% with cobas. All HPV assays led to significantly more falsepositive tests, whereas compared to HC2 cobas and CLART were associated with a significantly higher and APTIMA with a significantly lower proportion. Detection of CIN1 was particularly increased for the three DNA assays. With APTIMA combined with cytological triage, about 20% more women were referred for colposcopy than with cytology screening. With the three DNA assays, the increase was ≥50%. The number of women with repeated testing was twice as high with APTIMA and almost five times as high with cobas compared to cytology. To our knowledge, Horizon was the only study set in routine practice that compared more than two HPV assays in the same women while also ascertaining the histological status of women with normal cytology/HPV-positive test results. HPV-based screening of Danish women aged 30-65 detected more high-grade CIN but decreased the screening specificity, and increased the demand for additional testing.




Rebolj, M., Bonde, J., Preisler, S., Ejegod, D., Rygaard, C., & Lynge, E. (2016). Human papillomavirus assays and cytology in primary cervical screening of women aged 30 years and above. PLoS ONE, 11(1).

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