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The use of molecular markers for cervical screening of women living with hiv in South Africa.

Kremer WW, et al. AIDS. 2019.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the performance of molecular screening strategies for detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or worse (CIN3+) in comparison with cytology screening in women living with HIV (WLHIV).

DESIGN: post-hoc analysis using data from a South African study cohort.

METHODS: Cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) based strategies were evaluated, including single test and FAM19A4/miR124-2 methylation triage strategies. Participants underwent cytology screening and a colposcopy-directed biopsy. Valid results on cytology, HPV status, 16/18 genotyping, and histology were available for 318 women. Detection of HPV and FAM19A4/miR124-2 hypermethylation was performed on DNA from cervical scrapes. Histological diagnosis of CIN3+ was used as outcome.

RESULTS: Cytology provided highest specificity (91.6%), but lowest sensitivity (59.3%), whereas a single HPV test provided highest sensitivity (83.1%), but lowest specificity (66.4%). Combining cytology with methylation did not improve the performance compared with cytology alone: a slight increase in sensitivity was seen, at the cost of a decrease in specificity. Triage of high-risk HPV positive women with methylation increased specificity (76.1%) compared with a single HPV or cytology test, while maintaining acceptable sensitivity (72.9%). Similar performance was observed for HPV16/18 with methylation triage (sensitivity 79.7%, specificity 74.8%). The number of women needed to refer to detect one CIN3+ ranged from 1.5 (cytology) to 2.6 (single HPV test).

CONCLUSIONS: Molecular screening strategies using HPV, with or without HPV16/18 genotyping, and FAM19A4/miR124-2 methylation have higher sensitivity with an acceptable loss in specificity compared with current cytology screening and are efficient for the detection of CIN3+ in South African WLHIV.


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