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Acta Cytol. 2019;63(5):379-384. doi: 10.1159/000499373. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Self-Collected Samples in Cervical Cancer Screening: Results of HPV and Pap Self-Collected Samples Compared to Physician-Obtained Specimens.

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Zytolabor Ludwigsburg, Ludwigsburg, Germany,



In order to increase overall participation in cervical cancer screening, several investigators propose a concept of introducing self-tests. The study presented here compared test results of the Pap test and 4 different HPV test systems of self-collected and physician-collected vaginal specimens.


208 patients of a colposcopy clinic had physician-taken and self-taken vaginal samples. All cell samples enabled a liquid-based Pap test and testing for carcinogenic HPV genotypes. In addition, all patients had a colposcopy with or without cervical biopsy and/or conisation.


99 patients had the histological diagnosis of CIN2+. The HPV test sensitivity of self-collected samples differed significantly in this patient group depending on the test system performed. The sensitivity of the self-collected Pap test was significantly lower than HPV testing, but the positive predictive value of the Pap self-test was very high.


The results of this study indicate that under the circumstances of self-testing HPV test systems differ in test sensitivity and specificity. Self-collected Pap tests can provide a test result with a very high positive predictive value and introduce therapeutic strategies. In order to improve screening strategies, it could be an opportunity to combine HPV and Pap tests in self-taken vaginal samples, especially in countries with a low income level. In countries with a good medical infrastructure, self-testing has to be introduced with caution.


Cervical cancer; HPV; Pap test; Screening; Self-collected samples

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