Evaluating the Performance of Hybrid Capture 2 Test as a Primary Screening Test from Studies Conducted in Low and Middle-Income Country Settings- Special Focus India

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai. India.

2 Department of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. India.

3 Department of Biostatistics, Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Centre. Mumbai. India.

4 Department of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, India.

5 Department of Health Disparities Research, Division of Cancer Prevention & Population Science, M.D Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston,USA.


Among the screening tests for cervical cancer, advantages of screening with second generation molecular Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) test is the high sensitivity and negative predictive value that makes it easy to implement as a cervical cancer screening policy necessitating less screening rounds. High income countries are now implementing HC2 test in their national cervical cancer screening program. Since the acceptance of any screening test depends on the sensitivity of the test, the current study was carried out to evaluate the sensitivity of HC2 test reported from Low- and Middle-income countries (LMIC) which share major burden of cervical cancer globally and to establish if HC2 test could be used as a primary screening test in India. Materials and methods: The population based cross sectional studies from LMICs which evaluated HC2 test as a primary screening modality to diagnose Cervical intraepithelial neoplasm grade 2 and above (CIN2+) lesions were included. Results: A total of 18 studies from LMIC involving 1,13,086 women were reviewed for sensitivity of HC2 as a primary screening test. The overall average sensitivity and specificity to diagnose CIN2+ lesions were 79.84% (95% CI-71.01,86.73) and 85.63% (95% CI- 84.37,86.92) respectively. India demonstrated an average sensitivity and specificity of 65% (95% CI 57,77) and 93% (95% CI- 92,94) respectively. Conclusion: Results from LMIC demonstrate a comparably low sensitivity of HC2 test to diagnose CIN2+ lesions as compared to that reported from High income countries. Sensitivity of HC2 was substantially low for India. The current study discusses issues of HC2 assay and the role of untreated Reproductive tract infections as probable causes for low sensitivity of the test. This needs further research in an attempt to improve the sensitivity of the test in an era of self-sampling and low-cost HPV test on horizon to improve the coverage for cervical cancer.


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