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Keywords:

  • Cervical screening;
  • HPV self sampling;
  • HPV genotyping;
  • human papillomavirus;
  • participation rate

Abstract

In France, about 40% of women aged 25–65 years do not participate in regular screening and thus are at high risk (HR) of cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaginal self-sampling is a valuable alternative in this population. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of HR and LR (low-risk) HPV infection in 3767 women aged >35 years from mid-socioeconomic backgrounds who carried out HPV vaginal self-sampling at home. HPV vaginal self-sampling was better accepted than the Pap-test in women aged 35–69 years who were previously non-responders to individual invitation. From the 933 self-collected swabs studied (24.7%), 62 were HPV-infected (6.6%), and 73 HPV types were found. HPV 16 was the most frequently found (43.5%), followed by 53 (23.2%), 18 (12.3%), 66 (12.3%), 31 (6.8%), 33 (5.4%) and 58 (2.7%). Ten women (16.2%) were infected by multiple HR-HPV types. Median HPV 16 load was 104.000 copies/106 cells and median HPV 18 load was 833 copies/106 cells. Six women (9.3%) harboured LR-HPV types. The 12-month follow-up of 43 HR-HPV positive women (69.3%) revealed CIN2–3 lesions in three women (6.9%), all HPV 16 infected, and harbouring an HPV 16 load >5 log10 copies/106 cells. Women harbouring HR-HPV types other than HPV 16/18 were older than women harbouring HPV 16/18 types (55 years vs. 46.9 years, p 0.0008). The high frequency of HR-HPV types in women >50 years deserves further investigation to elucidate the mechanism involved (re-infection or reactivation).