Commercial molecular tests for human papillomaviruses (HPV) are invaluable diagnostic tools in cervical carcinoma screening and management of women with cervical precancerous lesions as well as important research tools for epidemiological studies, vaccine development, and implementation and monitoring of vaccination programs. In this third inventory of commercial HPV tests, we identified 193 distinct commercial HPV tests and at least 127 test variants available on the market in 2015, which represents a 54% and 79% increase in the number of distinct HPV tests and variants, respectively, in comparison to our last inventory performed in 2012. Identified HPV tests were provisionally divided into eight main groups and several subgroups. Among the 193 commercial HPV tests, all but two target alpha-HPV types only. Although the number of commercial HPV tests with at least one published study in peer-reviewed literature has increased significantly in the last three years, several published performance evaluations are still not in line with agreed-upon standards in the HPV community. Manufacturers should invest greater effort into evaluating their products and publishing validation/evaluation results in peer-reviewed journals. To achieve this, more clinically oriented external quality-control panels and initiatives are required. For evaluating the analytical performance of the entire range of HPV tests currently on the market, more diverse and reliable external quality-control programs based on international standards for all important HPV types are indispensable. The performance of a wider range of HPV tests must be promptly evaluated on a variety of alternative clinical specimens. In addition, more complete HPV assays containing validated sample-extraction protocols and appropriate internal controls are urgently needed. Provision of a broader range of automated systems allowing large-scale HPV testing as well as the development of reliable, rapid, and affordable molecular point-of-care tests are priorities for the further improvement of HPV tests.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; HPV; Human papillomaviruses; Screening; Test.
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