Detection of Human Papillomavirus DNA in Routine Cervical Scraping Samples: Use for a National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in a Developing Nation


Background: Human papillomavirus is a well-established cause of the development of a variety of epitheliallesions in the cervix. However, as yet, incorporation of HPV testing into cervical cancer screening either as anadjunct or stand alone test is limited due to its cost. We therefore here ascertained the presence and type specificityof human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA in routine cervical scrapings. Materials and
Methods: Cervical scrapingswere collected from women attending clinics for routine Pap smear screening. HPV-DNA was detected by PCRusing MY09/11 and GP5+/GP6+ primer sets and genotyping was accomplished by cycle-sequencing.
Results: Atotal of 635 women were recruited into the study with mean±SD age of 43±10.5 years. Of these 92.6% (588/635)were reported as within normal limits (WNL) on cytology. The presence of HPV infection detected by nestedMY/GP+-PCR was 4.4% (28/635). The overall prevalence of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) in abnormal Pap smearswas 53.8% (7/13). HPVs were also seen in 3.1% (18/588) of smears reported as WNL by cytology and 5.9%(2/34) in smears unsatisfactory for evaluation.
Conclusions: The overall percentage of HPV positivity in routinecervical screening samples is comparable with abnormal findings in cytology. Conventional Pap smear ‘missed’a few samples. Since HPV testing is expensive, our results may provide valuable information for strategisingimplementation of effective cervical cancer screening in a country with limited resources like Malaysia. If Papsmear coverage could be improved, HPV testing could be used as an adjunct method on cases with ambiguousdiagnoses.