Detection of Human Papillomavirus DNA in Routine Cervical Scraping Samples: Use for a National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in a Developing Nation

  • Othman, Norodiyah (Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia) ;
  • Othman, Nor Hayati (Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
  • Published : 2014.03.01


Background: Human papillomavirus is a well-established cause of the development of a variety of epithelial lesions in the cervix. However, as yet, incorporation of HPV testing into cervical cancer screening either as an adjunct or stand alone test is limited due to its cost. We therefore here ascertained the presence and type specificity of human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA in routine cervical scrapings. Materials and Methods: Cervical scrapings were collected from women attending clinics for routine Pap smear screening. HPV-DNA was detected by PCR using MY09/11 and GP5+/GP6+ primer sets and genotyping was accomplished by cycle-sequencing. Results: A total of 635 women were recruited into the study with $mean{\pm}SD$ age of $43{\pm}10.5$ years. Of these 92.6% (588/635) were reported as within normal limits (WNL) on cytology. The presence of HPV infection detected by nested MY/GP+-PCR was 4.4% (28/635). The overall prevalence of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) in abnormal Pap smears was 53.8% (7/13). HPVs were also seen in 3.1% (18/588) of smears reported as WNL by cytology and 5.9% (2/34) in smears unsatisfactory for evaluation. Conclusions: The overall percentage of HPV positivity in routine cervical screening samples is comparable with abnormal findings in cytology. Conventional Pap smear 'missed' a few samples. Since HPV testing is expensive, our results may provide valuable information for strategising implementation of effective cervical cancer screening in a country with limited resources like Malaysia. If Pap smear coverage could be improved, HPV testing could be used as an adjunct method on cases with ambiguous diagnoses.


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