The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of introducing HR-HPV testing in cytology regarding cervical cancer screening practice.
A pooled analysis of liquid-based cytology (LBC) and HR-HPV testing using data from 13 population-based cervical cancer screening studies conducted in China was performed. Participants (n=25,404) received LBC and HR-HPV testing. Women found to be positive on screening were referred for colposcopy and biopsy. The effectiveness of screening strategies that use: LBC with HR-HPV triage for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US), HR-HPV testing with cytology triage for HPV positive tests, or LBC and HPV cotesting was compared with that of LBC screening alone.
LBC with HR-HPV triage for ASC-US had similar sensitivity compared with LBC alone, but significantly increased specificity for both cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+) and CIN3 or worse (CIN3+) endpoints, and had the best balance between sensitivity and specificity among the strategies. LBC and HR-HPV cotesting had the highest sensitivity and negative predictive value (NPV) and could permit a safe extension of screening intervals. Through the use of an immediate colposcopy threshold of ASC-US or worse for HR-HPV positive women and the use of a raised threshold of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) or worse for HR-HPV negative women, LBC and HR-HPV cotesting could provide the same effectiveness as LBC testing with HR-HPV triage for ASC-US at baseline tests.
The results of the current study support the use of the cervical cancer screening guidelines in China.