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Automated Cervical Screening and Triage, Based on HPV Testing and Computer-Interpreted Cytology

State-of-the-art cervical cancer prevention includes human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among adolescents and screening/treatment of cervical precancer (CIN3/AIS and, less strictly, CIN2) among adults. HPV testing provides sensitive detection of precancer but, to reduce overtreatment, secondary "triage" is needed to predict women at highest risk. Those with the highest-risk HPV types or abnormal cytology are commonly referred to colposcopy; however, expert cytology services are critically lacking in many regions. To permit completely automatable cervical screening/triage, we designed and validated a novel triage method, a cytologic risk score algorithm based on computer-scanned liquid-based slide features (FocalPoint, BD, Burlington, NC). We compared it with abnormal cytology in predicting precancer among 1839 women testing HPV positive (HC2, Qiagen, Germantown, MD) in 2010 at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC). Precancer outcomes were ascertained by record linkage. As additional validation, we compared the algorithm prospectively with cytology results among 243 807 women screened at KPNC (2016-2017). All statistical tests were two-sided. Among HPV-positive women, the algorithm matched the triage performance of abnormal cytology. Combined with HPV16/18/45 typing (Onclarity, BD, Sparks, MD), the automatable strategy referred 91.7% of HPV-positive CIN3/AIS cases to immediate colposcopy while deferring 38.4% of all HPV-positive women to one-year retesting (compared with 89.1% and 37.4%, respectively, for typing and cytology triage). In the 2016-2017 validation, the predicted risk scores strongly correlated with cytology (P < .001). High-quality cervical screening and triage performance is achievable using this completely automated approach. Automated technology could permit extension of high-quality cervical screening/triage coverage to currently underserved regions.

Authors: Yu K; Raine-Bennett TR; Schiffman M; et al.

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Apr 11.

PubMed abstract

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