OBJECTIVE: To examine the test performance of careHPV, Hybrid Capture2 (HC2) and visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for detection of cytologically diagnosed high-grade cervical lesions or cancer (HSIL+).
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC), Tanzania.
POPULATION: Women attending routine cervical cancer screening.
METHOD: We enrolled 4080 women (25-60 years) in the study. The women were interviewed on lifestyle habits, and tested for HIV. A cervical specimen for careHPV testing (performed at ORCI and KCMC), and a liquid-based cytology sample for HPV DNA detection using HC2 (performed at Tuebingen University Hospital, Germany) and for cytology assessment (performed at Vejle Hospital, Denmark) were obtained at a gynecological examination. Subsequently, VIA was performed. With cytology as gold standard, the sensitivity and specificity of careHPV, HC2, and VIA for detection of HSIL+ were calculated.
RESULTS: Altogether, 23.6% had a positive careHPV test, 19.1% had positive HC2 test, and 6.3% had a positive VIA test. The sensitivity/specificity was 88.9%/78.9% for careHPV and 91.1%/83.7%, for HC2. VIA showed a low sensitivity of 31.1% but a high specificity (94.6%) for detection of HSIL+. The sensitivity of careHPV, HC2 and VIA was higher among younger women, and among HIV positive women. VIA triage of careHPV positive women improved specificity, but sensitivity dropped to 27%.
CONCLUSION: Our results confirm the low sensitivity of VIA for detection of HSIL+ and further document that careHPV test is promising as a primary screening method for cervical-cancer prevention in low-resource regions. A suitable triage test has to be identified.