Reliable identification of women with CIN3+ using hrHPV genotyping and methylation markers in a cytology-screened referral population
Cervical screening aims to identify women with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion/cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2-3 (HSIL/CIN2-3) or invasive cervical cancer (ICC). Identification of women with severe premalignant lesions or ICC (CIN3+) could ensure their rapid treatment and prevent overtreatment. We investigated high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) detection with genotyping and methylation of FAM19A4/miR124-2 for detection of CIN3+ in 538 women attending colposcopy for abnormal cytology. All women had an additional cytology with hrHPV testing (GP5+/6+-PCR-EIA+), genotyping (HPV16/18, HPV16/18/31/45), and methylation analysis (FAM19A4/miR124-2) and at least one biopsy. CIN3+ detection was studied overall and in women <30 (n = 171) and ≥30 years (n = 367). Positivity for both rather than just one methylation markers increased in CIN3, and all ICC was positive for both. Overall sensitivity and specificity for CIN3+ were, respectively, 90.3% (95%CI 81.3–95.2) and 31.8% (95%CI 27.7–36.1) for hrHPV, 77.8% (95%CI 66.9–85.8) and 69.3% (95%CI 65.0–73.3) for methylation biomarkers and 93.1% (95%CI 84.8–97.0) and 49.4% (95%CI 44.8–53.9) for combined HPV16/18 and/or methylation positivity. For CIN3, hrHPV was found in 90.9% (95%CI 81.6–95.8), methylation positivity in 75.8% (95%CI 64.2–84.5) and HPV16/18 and/or methylation positivity in 92.4% (95%CI 83.5–96.7). In women aged ≥30, the sensitivity of combined HPV16/18 and methylation was increased (98.2%, 95%CI 90.6–99.7) with a specificity of 46.3% (95%CI 40.8–51.9). Combination of HPV16/18 and methylation analysis was very sensitive and offered improved specificity for CIN3+, opening the possibility of rapid treatment for these women and follow-up for women with potentially regressive, less advanced, HSIL/CIN2 lesions.