Evaluation of self-sampling-based cervical cancer screening strategy using HPV Selfy CE-IVD test coupled with home-collection kit: a clinical study in Italy

Eur J Med Res. 2023 Dec 11;28(1):582. doi: 10.1186/s40001-023-01263-8.


Background: Primary human papillomaviruses (HPV) cervical cancer screening can be strengthened by offering home-collection of biological specimen as a valuable option to increase screening coverage. As recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), screening programs should consider whether the inclusion of HPV self-sampling as a complementary option within their existing screening algorithms could address the gaps in current coverage. However, few HPV screening tests are validated for self-sampling according to international guidelines. This study aimed to test a self-sampling-based screening strategy, complementary to the main screening program based on clinician-collected cervical samples. The study took place in Trieste, Italy, and it aimed to evaluate the feasibility of self-testing at home under an opt-in system during COVID-19 pandemic in order to exploit self-sampling to reduce the screening delay generated by the lockdown.

Methods: 500 women, who should have received the screening call in 2020, were asked, via phone call, to participate in the study. To whom agreed, a home-collection kit, including a vaginal dry swab for specimen collection, was sent. The recipients performed the sample self-collection and sent back the swab through traditional mail using a prepaid envelope. Once received by the hospital, the samples were analyzed with HPV Selfy (Ulisse BioMed, Italy), a CE-IVD HPV screening test specifically validated for self-collection. Results were further compared using cobas® 4800 HPV (Roche, Switzerland).

Results: 80% women sent back their swab, showing one of the highest return rate obtained in comparable studies. 34 HPV-positive women were followed up and underwent the Pap test, that revealed 8 low squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) cases, later triaged to colposcopy. HPV Selfy was confirmed to be an adequate test for self-sampling-based screening.

Conclusions: This study further confirmed the feasibility of self-test at home screening strategy based on self-sampling with an opt-in system as a support method to enhance cervical cancer screening coverage in Italy. Enrolled women showed a high appreciation for this approach. HPV Selfy test demonstrated to be a valuable assay for cervical cancer screening based on home self-collection.

Trial registration: ASUGI Trieste n. 16008/2018 and amendment 02-11/09/2020.

Keywords: COVID-19; HPV; HPV Selfy; Human papillomavirus; Self-sampling; VALHUDES.

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / pathology
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / epidemiology