HPV-based Cervical Cancer Screening on Self-samples in the Netherlands: Challenges to Reach Women and Test Performance Questions

Marc Arbyn, Stefanie Costa, Ardashel Latsuzbaia, Eliane Kellen, Paolo Girogi Rossi, Clementina E. Cocuzza, Partha Basu, Philip E. Castle

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In 2017, cervical cancer screening in the Netherlands switched from cytology to human papillomavirus (HPV) testing using the validated PCR-based cobas 4800. Women could order and subsequently received a free self-sampling kit (Evalyn Brush) at their home address instead of clinician sampling. In the laboratory, the shipped brush was placed into 20 mL of PreservCyt fluid, before testing. In the first 2 years of the new program, only 7% of screening tests were performed on a self-sample. Those who chose self-sampling versus clinician sampling were more likely to have never been screened previously and differed also with respect to sociodemographic factors. Subsequent more active promotion and increasing the ease to obtain kits increased the proportion opting for self-sampling (16% in 2020). HPV positivity and detection rate of precancer (CIN3+) were lower in the self-sampling compared with the clinician-sampling group (adjusted ORs of 0.65 and 0.86, respectively). Although population differences may partially explain these results, self-samples may have been too dilute, thereby reducing the analytic and clinical sensitivity. The Dutch findings demonstrate the importance of optimizing outreach, specimen handling and testing protocols for self-samples to effectively screen the target population and reach in particular the women at highest risk for cervical cancer. See related article by Aitken et al., p. 183.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023

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