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J Clin Microbiol. 2013 Nov;51(11):3653-7. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01517-13. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

The Aptima HPV assay fulfills the cross-sectional clinical and reproducibility criteria of international guidelines for human papillomavirus test requirements for cervical screening.

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Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The Aptima HPV assay (Hologic Gen-Probe, San Diego, CA) is an FDA-approved assay for detecting human papillomavirus (HPV) E6/E7 mRNA from 14 high-risk HPV types. This study evaluated the clinical performance of the Aptima HPV assay for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia of grade 2 or worse (CIN2+), relative to the high-risk HPV GP5+/GP6+ PCR, in a cross-sectional clinical equivalence analysis using the noninferiority score test with cervical samples from population-based screening, i.e., 69 cervical scraping samples from women with CIN2+ and 843 from women without evidence of CIN2+. In addition, intralaboratory reproducibility over time and interlaboratory agreement of the Aptima HPV assay results were assessed with another set of 548 cervical samples. The Aptima HPV assay showed a clinical sensitivity for CIN2+ of 94.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 85.5 to 97.8%) and a clinical specificity for CIN2+ of 94.5% (95% CI, 92.8 to 95.9%); by comparison, these figures were 97.1% (95% CI, 89.1 to 99.3%) (67/69 samples) and 93.6% (95% CI, 91.7 to 95.0%) (785/839 samples), respectively, for GP5+/GP6+ PCR. The clinical sensitivity and specificity of the Aptima HPV assay were noninferior to those of GP5+/GP6+ PCR (P = 0.039 and 0.00016, respectively). In addition, high reproducibility of the Aptima HPV assay, as reflected by the intralaboratory reproducibility over time of 96.0% (95% CI, 94.4 to 97.3%) (526/548 samples; kappa = 0.89) and interlaboratory agreement of 96.7% (95% CI, 95.4 to 98.1%) (531/548 samples; kappa = 0.91), was found. Altogether, these data show that the Aptima HPV assay meets the cross-sectional clinical and reproducibility criteria of the international guidelines for HPV test requirements for cervical screening. Longitudinal data are needed to ensure that the long-term negative predictive value of this mRNA assay is similar to those of validated HPV DNA tests.

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