Cervical screening with primary HPV testing or cytology in a population of women in which those aged 33 years or younger had previously been offered HPV vaccination: Results of the Compass pilot randomised trial

Karen Canfell, Michael Caruana, Val Gebski, Jessica Darlington-Brown, Stella Heley, Julia Brotherton, Dorota Gertig, Chloe J. Jennett, Annabelle Farnsworth, Jeffrey Tan, C. David Wrede, Philip E. Castle, Marion Saville

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Abstract

Background: Using primary human papillomavirus (HPV) testing for cervical screening increases detection of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplastic lesions and invasive cancer (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ [CIN2+]) compared to cytology, but no evaluation has been conducted in a population previously offered HPV vaccination. We aimed to assess colposcopy referral and CIN2+ detection rates for HPV-screened versus cytology-screened women in Australia’s HPV-vaccinated population (by 2014, resident women ≤33 years had been age-eligible for HPV vaccination, with 3-dose uptake across age cohorts being about 50%–77%). Methods and findings: Compass is an open-label randomised trial of 5-yearly HPV screening versus 2.5-yearly liquid-based cytology (LBC) screening. In the first phase, consenting women aged 25–64 years presenting for routine screening at 47 primary practices in Victoria, Australia, provided a cervical sample and were randomised at a central laboratory at a 1:2:2 allocation to (i) image-read LBC screening with HPV triage of low-grade cytology (‘LBC screening’), (ii) HPV screening with those HPV16/18 positive referred to colposcopy and with LBC triage for other oncogenic (OHR) types (‘HPV+LBC triage’), or (iii) HPV screening with those HPV16/18 positive referred to colposcopy and with dual-stained cytology triage for OHR types (‘HPV+DS triage’). A total of 5,006 eligible women were recruited from 29 October 2013 to 7 November 2014 (recruitment rate 58%); of these, 22% were in the group age-eligible for vaccination. Data on 4,995 participants were analysed after 11 withdrawals; 998 were assigned to, and 995 analysed (99.7%) in, the LBC-screened group; 1,996 assigned to and 1,992 analysed (99.8%) in the HPV+LBC triage group; and 2,012 assigned to and 2,008 analysed (99.8%) in the HPV+DS triage group. No serious trial-related adverse events were reported. The main outcomes were colposcopy referral and detected CIN2+ rates at baseline screening, assessed on an intention-to-treat basis after follow-up of the subgroup of triage-negative women in each arm referred to 12 months of surveillance, and after a further 6 months of follow-up for histological outcomes (dataset closed 31 August 2016). Analysis was adjusted for whether women had been age-eligible for HPV vaccination or not. For the LBC-screened group, the overall referral and detected CIN2+ rates were 27/995 (2.7% [95% CI 1.8%–3.9%]) and 1/995 (0.1% [95% CI 0.0%–0.6%]), respectively; for HPV+LBC triage, these were 75/1,992 (3.8% [95% CI 3.0%–4.7%]) and 20/1,992 (1.0% [95% CI 0.6%–1.5%]); and for HPV+DS triage, these were 79/2,008 (3.9% [95% CI 3.1%–4.9%]) and 24/2,008 (1.2% [95% CI 0.8%–1.6%]) (p = 0.09 for difference in referral rate in LBC versus all HPV-screened women; p = 0.003 for difference in CIN2+ detection rate in LBC versus all HPV-screened women, with p = 0.62 between HPV screening groups). Limitations include that the study population involved a relatively low risk group in a previously well-screened and treated population, that individual women’s vaccination status was unknown, and that long-term follow-up data on disease detection in screen-negative women are not yet available. Conclusions: In this study, primary HPV screening was associated with significantly increased detection of high-grade precancerous cervical lesions compared to cytology, in a population where high vaccine uptake was reported in women aged 33 years or younger who were offered vaccination. It had been predicted that increased disease detection might be associated with a transient increase in colposcopy referral rates in the first round of HPV screening, possibly dampened by HPV vaccine effect; in this study, although the point estimates for referral rates in women in each HPV-screened group were 41%–44% higher than in cytology-screened women, the difference in referral rate between cytology- and HPV-screened women was not significant. These findings provide initial support for the implementation of primary HPV screening in vaccinated populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1002388
JournalPLoS Medicine
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Canfell, K., Caruana, M., Gebski, V., Darlington-Brown, J., Heley, S., Brotherton, J., Gertig, D., Jennett, C. J., Farnsworth, A., Tan, J., Wrede, C. D., Castle, P. E., & Saville, M. (2017). Cervical screening with primary HPV testing or cytology in a population of women in which those aged 33 years or younger had previously been offered HPV vaccination: Results of the Compass pilot randomised trial. PLoS Medicine, 14(9), [e1002388]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002388