Objective: In order to increase overall participation in cervical cancer screening, several investigators propose a concept of introducing self-tests. The study presented here compared test results of the Pap test and 4 different HPV test systems of self-collected and physician-collected vaginal specimens.
Study design: 208 patients of a colposcopy clinic had physician-taken and self-taken vaginal samples. All cell samples enabled a liquid-based Pap test and testing for carcinogenic HPV genotypes. In addition, all patients had a colposcopy with or without cervical biopsy and/or conisation.
Results: 99 patients had the histological diagnosis of CIN2+. The HPV test sensitivity of self-collected samples differed significantly in this patient group depending on the test system performed. The sensitivity of the self-collected Pap test was significantly lower than HPV testing, but the positive predictive value of the Pap self-test was very high.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that under the circumstances of self-testing HPV test systems differ in test sensitivity and specificity. Self-collected Pap tests can provide a test result with a very high positive predictive value and introduce therapeutic strategies. In order to improve screening strategies, it could be an opportunity to combine HPV and Pap tests in self-taken vaginal samples, especially in countries with a low income level. In countries with a good medical infrastructure, self-testing has to be introduced with caution.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; HPV; Pap test; Screening; Self-collected samples.
The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.