Urine HPV in the Context of Genital and Cervical Cancer Screening-An Update of Current Literature

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Apr 1;13(7):1640. doi: 10.3390/cancers13071640.


Within the previous decades, following the widespread implementation of HPV-related biomarkers and computerization in liquid-based cytology, screening for lower genital tract malignancies has been optimized in several parts of the world. Many organized anogenital cancer prevention systems have reached a point at which efficacy is more a matter of population coverage and less of available infrastructures. Meanwhile, self-sampling modalities in which biologic material (vaginal secretions, urine, etc.) is obtained by the individual and not the clinician and subsequently undergoes examination for HPV biomarkers enjoy appreciating acceptance. Bygone the initial skepticism that vaginal or urine HPV represents "passenger" transient infections, extensive scientific work has been conducted to optimize high-risk HPV (hrHPV) detection from this "novel" biologic material. Nowadays, several state-of-the-art meta-analyses have illustrated that self-sampling techniques involving urine self-sampling represent a feasible alternative strategy with potentially enhanced population coverage possessing excellent performance and sensitivity. Recently published scientific work focusing on urine HPV was reviewed, and after a critical appraisal, the following points should be considered in the clinical application of hrHPV urine measurements; (i) use of first-void urine (FVU) and purpose-designed collection devices; (ii) using a preservation medium to avoid human/HPV DNA degradation during extraction and storage; (iii) using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assays, ideally with genotyping capabilities; (iv) processing of a sufficient volume of whole urine; and (v) the use of an analytically sensitive HPV test/recovery of cell-free HPV DNA in addition to cell-associated DNA.

Keywords: HPV; HPV DNA; HPV methylation markers; HPV urine; cervical cancer screening; genotyping; mRNA E6 & E7.

Publication types

  • Review