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Can J Public Health. 2013 Feb 11;104(2):e159-66.

Self-collected HPV testing improves participation in cervical cancer screening: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.



HPV testing has emerged as an effective cervical cancer screening test. The use of HPV self-testing has the potential to address many barriers to screening and reach at-risk women through engagement in screening. However, there is a need to examine the evidence for whether offering self-collected HPV testing in practice increases screening compliance. The objective of this review is to determine to what extent providing self-collected HPV testing increases screening participation in women who are never or underscreened for cervical cancer.


A systematic literature review conducted in the databases Medline and Embase identified articles examining the use of HPV self-testing on cervical cancer screening participation. A meta-analysis using a random-effects model was used to calculate the relative compliance, with an intent-to-treat analysis of HPV self-testing compared to Pap testing, with 95% confidence intervals (CI). All statistical tests were two-sided.


Ten studies were reviewed, with 8 being European and 2 North American. Of the 10 studies, 9 employed a randomized design. In all studies, the relative compliance of HPV self-collected testing compared to Pap testing was significantly greater than 1.0 (p<0.01). The overall relative compliance was 2.14 (95% CI 1.30-3.52). There was large heterogeneity of screening compliance between studies for both HPV self-testing and Pap testing.


HPV self-collected testing significantly improved the participation of women who did not routinely attend cervical cancer screening programs. New approaches to HPV self-test delivery should be considered as HPV testing becomes more widely incorporated as a primary screening tool.


Human papillomavirus; cervical cancer screening; review; self collected specimens; under-screening

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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