High-risk human papillomavirus detection in self-sampling compared to physician-taken smear in a responder population of the Dutch cervical screening: Results of the VERA study

Prev Med. 2017 Aug:101:96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.05.021. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


In 2017 the cervical cancer screening program in The Netherlands will be revised. Cervical smears will primarily be tested for the presence of high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) instead of cytology, and vaginal self-sampling will be offered to non-responders. This includes a potential risk that part of the women who would otherwise opt for a cervical smear will wait for self-sampling. However, self-sampling for hrHPV in a responder population has never been studied yet. The aim of this study was to investigate the applicability and accuracy of self-sampling in detecting hrHPV in a screening responder population. A total of 2049 women, aged 30-60years, participating in the screening program in The Netherlands were included from April 2013 to May 2015. After they had their cervical smear taken, women self-collected a cervicovaginal sample with a brush-based device, the Evalyn Brush. Both the cervical smear and self-sample specimen were tested with the COBAS 4800 HPV platform. The hrHPV prevalence was 8.0% (95% CI 6.9-9.2) among the physician-taken samples, and 10.0% (95% CI 8.7-11.3) among the self-samples. There was 96.8% (95% CI 96.0-97.5) concordance of hrHPV prevalence between self-samples and physician-taken samples. Women in our study evaluated self-sampling as convenient (97.1%), user-friendly (98.5%), and 62.8% preferred self-sampling over a physician-taken sampling for the next screening round. In conclusion, self-sampling showed high concordance with physician-taken sampling for hrHPV detection in a responder screening population and highly acceptable to women. Implementation of HPV-self-sampling for the responder population as a primary screening tool may be considered.

Keywords: Cervical neoplasms; HPV-self-sampling; Human papillomavirus; Population-based screening; Questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Physicians
  • Self Report
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*