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Front Public Health. 2018 Apr 9;6:77. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00077. eCollection 2018.

Self-Sampling for Human Papillomavirus Testing: Increased Cervical Cancer Screening Participation and Incorporation in International Screening Programs.

Author information

1
uBiome, San Francisco, CA, United States.
2
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States.

Abstract

In most industrialized countries, screening programs for cervical cancer have shifted from cytology (Pap smear or ThinPrep) alone on clinician-obtained samples to the addition of screening for human papillomavirus (HPV), its main causative agent. For HPV testing, self-sampling instead of clinician-sampling has proven to be equally accurate, in particular for assays that use nucleic acid amplification techniques. In addition, HPV testing of self-collected samples in combination with a follow-up Pap smear in case of a positive result is more effective in detecting precancerous lesions than a Pap smear alone. Self-sampling for HPV testing has already been adopted by some countries, while others have started trials to evaluate its incorporation into national cervical cancer screening programs. Self-sampling may result in more individuals willing to participate in cervical cancer screening, because it removes many of the barriers that prevent women, especially those in low socioeconomic and minority populations, from participating in regular screening programs. Several studies have shown that the majority of women who have been underscreened but who tested HPV-positive in a self-obtained sample will visit a clinic for follow-up diagnosis and management. In addition, a self-collected sample can also be used for vaginal microbiome analysis, which can provide additional information about HPV infection persistence as well as vaginal health in general.

KEYWORDS:

cancer screening; cervical cancer; human papillomavirus; self-sampling; vaginal microbiome

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