Background: Cervical cancer screening coverage remains insufficient in most countries. Our objective was to assess whether in-home vaginal self-sampling with a dry swab for high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) testing is effective and cost-effective in increasing participation in cervical cancer screening.
Methods: In March 2012, 6000 unscreened women aged 30-65 years, living in a French region covered by a screening programme, who had not responded to an initial invitation to have a Pap smear were equally randomised to three groups: 'no intervention'; 'recall', women received a letter to have a Pap smear; and 'self-sampling', women received a self-sampling kit to return to a centralised virology laboratory for PCR-based HPV testing.
Results: Participation was higher in the 'self-sampling' than in the 'no intervention' group (22.5% vs 9.9%, P<0.0001; OR 2.64) and 'recall' group (11.7%, P<0.0001; OR 2.20). In the 'self-sampling' group, 320 used the self-sampling kit; for 44 of these women with positive HR-HPV test results, 40 had the recommended triage Pap smear. The ICER per extra screened woman was 77.8[euro ] and 63.2[euro ] for the 'recall' and 'self-sampling' groups, respectively, relative to the 'no intervention' group.
Conclusions: Offering an in-home, return-mail kit for vaginal self-sampling with a dry swab is more effective and cost-effective than a recall letter in increasing participation in cervical cancer screening.