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Use of Fast Transfer Analysis Cartridges for Cervical Sampling and Real Time PCR Based High Risk HPV Testing in Cervical Cancer Prevention - a Feasibility Study from South India

  • Published : 2015.09.02

Abstract

Background: Molecular testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most objective and reproducible of all cervical cancer screening tests and also less demanding in terms of training and quality assurance. However, there is an impending need for cost effective molecular HPV testing methods with sampling ease, easy storage measures and minimum turn around times suitable for a low resource setting. Objective : Our aim was to evaluate the feasibility of using a fast transfer analysis (FTA) mini elute cartridge for cervical sampling to identify high risk HPV by real time PCR and to compare molecular HPV testing and Pap cytology testing to predict histologically confirmed cervical precancer (CIN 2+ lesions) in a cervical cancer prevention program. Materials and Methods: This was conducted as a pilot study (n=200) on women sampled using FTA mini elute cartridges, genotyped by two different real time PCR assays, detecting 13 high risk HPV (HR HPV) species, including HPV16 along with its physical DNA status. Results obtained from each of the tests were compared and analysed using suitable statistical tests. Results: With FTA mini elute cartridge samples HR HPV positivity was seen in 48/200 (24%). Of these, presence of HPV 16 DNA was observed in 28/48 (58.3%) women. High risk HPV was positive in 20% (37/185) of women with benign cytology and 73.3% (11/15) of women with abnormal cytology findings. A very significant correlation (${\chi}^2=22.090$ ; p=0.000) was observed between cytology and HR HPV findings showing an increasing trend of HR HPV prevalence in 50% (1/2) of LSIL, 75% (3/4) of HSIL and 100% (3/3) of SCC. Of the CIN 2+ lesions identified by histopathology, 88.9% (8/9) had HR HPV. A significant association (${\chi}^2=11.223$ ; p=0.001) of HR HPV and histopathologically confirmed CIN 2+ lesions was found. Sensitivity of the two tests were comparable but specificity of Pap testing was better (90.7% vs 70.4%) to predict histopathologically diagnosed cervical precancers. Conclusions: The current study explored the feasibility of using a FTA mini elute cartridge for cervical sampling for the first time in India as a part of a community based cervical cancer prevention program. We suggest that FTA based sampling is suitable and feasible for real time based HPV testing. Molecular HR HPV testing can be more sensitive and useful to identify high risk women requiring Pap testing which is more specific to detect histologically confirmed cervical precancer.

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