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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1394-9.

Restricted cross-reactivity of hybrid capture 2 with nononcogenic human papillomavirus types.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Hybrid Capture 2 Test using probe B (HC2-B) is a clinical test for the detection of 13 human papillomavirus (HPV) types associated with cervical cancer (oncogenic types), but the potential clinical significance of HC2-B cross-reactivity with untargeted (nononcogenic) HPV types has not been fully evaluated. Thus, HC2-B test results on 954 clinical cervical specimens from a population-based natural history study of HPV in Costa Rica were compared with the data from testing of the same specimens twice by HPV type-specific MY09/MY11 L1 consensus primer PCR. Specimens positive by PCR for single HPV types not targeted by HC2-B were used for determining type-specific cross-reactivity. Effects of cross-reactivity on clinical performance were estimated by calculating sensitivity and specificity with and without cross-reactivity for the detection of high-grade cervical lesions. HC2-B tested positive for single infections by untargeted (cross-reactive) types 11, 53, 61, 66, 67, 70, 71, and 81. Cross-reactivity was strongly associated with PCR signal strength (P(Trend) = 0.0001) and cervical abnormalities (P = 0.0002, Pearson chi(2)). We estimated that HC2-B cross-reactivity resulted in minor changes in screening performance. Clinical sensitivity increased from 84.3% to 87.9%, clinical specificity decreased from 89.6% to 88.1%, and referral rates increased from 11.7% to 13.2% for detection of >or=cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2. The clinical effect of cross-reactivity varied by cytologic interpretation. Among women with normal cytologic interpretations, cross-reactivity significantly improved the accuracy of identifying cytologically nonevident histology of >or=cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 because of increased sensitivity with maintained specificity. However, among women with equivocal or mildly abnormal cytologic interpretations, cross-reactivity decreased the accuracy of HPV testing because of substantial decreases in specificity. In summary, cross-reactivity with nononcogenic HPV types had little effect on the overall clinical performance of HC2-B as a general screening test, but reduction of cross-reactivity might improve the performance of HPV testing for triage of equivocal or mildly abnormal cytologic interpretations.

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