Epidemiologists and clinicians wishing to introduce human papillomavirus (HPV) testing into cervical cancer prevention programs need standardized, reliable, and accurate HPV DNA tests that can detect the full spectrum of pathogenic HPV types. The Hybrid Capture System assay from Digene (hybrid capture assay) is a nonradioactive kit designed to detect 14 HPV types in two groups: a mix of 9 high-risk types associated with anogenital cancer (HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 51, 52, and 56) and another group of 5 low- risk types associated with condyloma acuminatum (HPV types 6, 11, 42, 43, and 44). The assay yields quantitative data meant to reflect viral concentration. In a study of 199 cervical specimens from women with concurrent Pap smears, we assessed the reliability of the new assay by comparing the hybrid capture assay results from three laboratories. We assessed the accuracy of the hybrid capture assay in comparison with a reference standard of HPV DNA content (multiple testing by several methods in two reference laboratories). We also compared the hybrid capture assay results with the concurrent cytologic diagnoses on the basis of an independent review of each smear by five pathologists. Pairwise interlaboratory agreement rates on HPV positivity for either high-risk or low-risk types ranged from 87 to 94%, and kappa values ranged from 0.61 to 0.83. Among specimens positive for high-risk types (the most important clinical outcome), the interlaboratory correlations of the quantitative data ranged from 0.60 to 0.90. Test results from all three laboratories were strongly associated with those of the HPV DNA reference standard and with the concurrent cytopathologic diagnoses. The most common errors were sporadic, apparently false-positive results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)