Detection of high-risk human papillomavirus RNA in urine for cervical cancer screening with HPV 16 & 18/45 genotyping

Heliyon. 2020 Apr 22;6(4):e03745. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03745. eCollection 2020 Apr.


Objective: To detect high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) messenger-RNA (mRNA) in urine samples, compare their concordance with cervical samples including HPV 16 & 18/45 genotyping, and to determine the utility in detecting ≥ CIN 2 lesions.

Methods: A cohort of 189 non-pregnant patients (age ≥ 25) was recruited in three groups: Group 1 with abnormal pap-smears and hrHPV positivity, Group 2 with normal pap-smears and hrHPV positivity, and Group 3 with normal pap-smears and hrHPV negativity. Urine samples were tested for hrHPV-mRNA and subsequent hrHPV-mRNA genotype if positive. High-risk HPV detection and genotyping were performed using Aptima assays which are validated for cervical HPV testing. Colposcopy results from groups 1 & 2 were analyzed.

Results: The sensitivity of urine hrHPV-mRNA detection was 31.5% while the specificity and PPV were above 95% (96.9% & 95.1% respectively) (p < 0.001). The kappa agreement with cervical samples was fair (0.22, p = 0.04). The sensitivity and specificity of urine hrHPV-mRNA genotyping were 20.0% & 100% respectively (p < 0.001) with 100% genotype-specific concordance. The kappa agreement with cervical samples was fair (0.25, p = 0.16). For urine hrHPV-mRNA detection of ASC-H/HSIL when grouped by age ≥ 30, the sensitivity and specificity were 45.4% & 63.9% respectively (p = 0.009). For urine hrHPV-mRNA detection of ≥ CIN 2 for all ages, the sensitivity and specificity were 45.5% & 75.0% respectively (p = 0.03).

Conclusion: Using the Aptima Assay, urine hrHPV-mRNA detection is suboptimal for cervical cancer screening but given the high specificity, it has the potential to identify high-grade lesions (≥ CIN 2). Urine hrHPV-mRNA genotyping via this modality is not beneficial in triage settings of normal or abnormal cytology to determine the need for colposcopy.

Keywords: Cancer screening tests; Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; Gynecology; HPV 16; HPV 18; HPV 45; Human papilloma virus; Messenger RNA; Oncology; Pap smear; Sensitivity; Specificity; Urine; Virology.