Purpose: Offering self-sampling of cervico-vaginal material for high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing is an effective method to increase the coverage in cervical screening programs. Molecular triage directly on hrHPV-positive self-samples for colposcopy referral opens the way to full molecular cervical screening. Here, we set out to identify a DNA methylation classifier for detection of cervical precancer (CIN3) and cancer, applicable to lavage and brush self-samples.Experimental Design: We determined genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of 72 hrHPV-positive self-samples, using the Infinium Methylation 450K Array. The selected DNA methylation markers were evaluated by multiplex quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) in both hrHPV-positive lavage (n = 245) and brush (n = 246) self-samples from screening cohorts. Subsequently, logistic regression analysis was performed to build a DNA methylation classifier for CIN3 detection applicable to self-samples of both devices. For validation, an independent set of hrHPV-positive lavage (n = 199) and brush (n = 287) self-samples was analyzed.Results: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling revealed 12 DNA methylation markers for CIN3 detection. Multiplex qMSP analysis of these markers in large series of lavage and brush self-samples yielded a 3-gene methylation classifier (ASCL1, LHX8, and ST6GALNAC5). This classifier showed a very good clinical performance for CIN3 detection in both lavage (AUC = 0.88; sensitivity = 74%; specificity = 79%) and brush (AUC = 0.90; sensitivity = 88%; specificity = 81%) self-samples in the validation set. Importantly, all self-samples from women with cervical cancer scored DNA methylation-positive.Conclusions: By genome-wide DNA methylation profiling on self-samples, we identified a highly effective 3-gene methylation classifier for direct triage on hrHPV-positive self-samples, which is superior to currently available methods. Clin Cancer Res; 24(14); 3456-64. ©2018 AACR.
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.