Objective: To compare the detection rate of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in self- and physician-obtained samples.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources: Studies published between 1966 and November 2005 identified through Medline and Embase that compared both sampling methods.
Main outcome measures: We calculated the concordance and kappa statistic between physician- and self-sampling and the difference between proportions of HPV positive samples. Weighted averages were reported with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using a random-effects model.
Results: Eighteen studies (5441 participants) were included that evaluated broad HPV type categories, 10 (3688 patients) that of high-risk (HR) HPV and three (530) that of low-risk (LR) HPV. A high level of concordance of 0.87 (95%CI, 0.82 to 0.91) between self- and physician-sampling was obtained for detection of HPV DNA (kappa 0.66, 95%CI, 0.56 to 0.76). The prevalence difference of HPV DNA between sampling methods was -0.5 (95%CI, -2.8 to 1.8). Results were similar when restricting the analysis to HR-HPV but the prevalence of LR-HPV types was higher in self-collected samples.
Conclusion: Self-sampling was as sensitive as physician-obtained sampling to detect HR-HPV or HPV DNA. Self-sampling may be a suitable alternative method for studies on HPV transmission and vaccine trials.