Background: polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays for human papillomavirus (HPV) sequences are in wide use in clinical and epidemiological studies. The reproducibility of these assays is not extensively studied.
Objectives: to estimate the intra-laboratory reproducibility of generic and type-specific HPV diagnoses by the MY09/MY11/HMB01 consensus L1 primer-based PCR assay.
Study design: systematically collected specimens (n=207) were masked and retested.
Results: when specimens negative in both initial and repeat assays were excluded from analysis, the diagnostic reproducibility was 98. 6% for beta-globin, 90.7% for generic HPV (any HPV type), and 76.9% for type-specific HPVs. The reproducibility of type-specific diagnosis increased with increase in signal strength in the hybridization reaction of the initial assay. When a specimen contained five or more HPV types in the initial assay, it was rare to identify all of the HPV types in the repeat assay.
Conclusions: the degree of reproducibility of the PCR diagnosis should be taken into account in the interpretation of HPV data in clinical and epidemiological studies.