DIY testing

Self-sampling identifies twice as many women at risk of cervical cancer

Using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of developing cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment.

This is shown by researchers at Uppsala University in the first randomised study in the world comparing two ways of identifying cervical cancer, published in the British Journal of Cancer. Cervical cancer screening has previously been based on cell sampling and cytology. This method initially reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer in Sweden substantially, but additional effects have been difficulty to achieve. This is due to the limited sensitivity of the method, and the fact that not all women attend screening. In the new study, researchers have compared today’s screening based on cytology and sampling by a midwife, with the woman taking a self-sample and submitting it for analysis of human papillomavirus, HPV, which is the cause of cervical cancer.

Source: Shutterstock/Nerthuz

The study is based on 36,390 women between the ages of 30 and 49 who participated in the organised screening in Uppsala County, 2013–2015. These were divided into two groups: one group performed self-sampling for an HPV test, while the other group had a midwife take a cell sample for cytological analysis. Women who were HPV positive repeated the self-sampling after 4 months and those who were HPV positive in both of their tests were called in for gynaecological examination. During 18 months of follow-up, the number of women with severe cell changes was recorded for both groups.

The results show that self-sampling was received very positively. Of the women who were offered self-sampling, 47% opted to participate, compared with 39% among those who were offered regular cell sampling. Among the women who did self-sampling for HPV testing, more than twice as many with cell changes were found than among those who had a cytology analysis. Also, the time until diagnosis was shorter for those who did self-sampling.

Half as expensive, twice as effective

This is the first randomised study in the world that compares these two ways of identifying cervical cancer. By using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment. Screening based on self-sampling also makes it possible to reach women who have previously chosen not to participate and have a sample taken by a midwife.

Calculations of the health-economic consequences of self-sampling and HPV testing show that the total cost of cervical cancer screening could be halved, while still being twice as effective as current the method. Few changes in healthcare can simultaneously double the effectiveness and halve the cost. Screening based on self-sampling also makes it possible to reach women who have chosen not to participate in the cell sampling and take a sample in midwife.


Source: The Swedish Research Council

16.02.2018

Read all latest stories

Related articles

CancerSEEK

Single blood test screens for 8 cancer types

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer. The test, called CancerSEEK, is…

Tumor analysis

Immune response to ovarian cancer may predict survival

A group of international cancer researchers led by investigators from Mayo Clinic and University of New South Wales Sydney has found that the level of a type of white blood cell, called…

Infection

Zika: 1.6 million childbearing women are at risk

Research by scientists in the US and UK has estimated that up to 1.65 million childbearing women in Central and South America could become infected by the Zika virus by the end of the first wave of…

Related products

Amplification/Detection

Agena Bioscience - MassARRAY Colon Panel

Agena Bioscience GmbH

Immunochemistry

Beckman Coulter - phi (Prostate Health Index)

Beckman Coulter, Inc.

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Eppendorf AG

Research use only (RUO)

SARSTEDT - Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

SARSTEDT AG & CO.

Research use only (RUO)

Shimadzu - CLAM-2000

Shimadzu Europa GmbH