Primary high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) DNA testing has been introduced in several countries worldwide, including The Netherlands. The objective of this study was to compare three automated workflow procedures for hrHPV testing of which the hrHPV detection assays meet the international guidelines for HPV testing. To mimic a realistic screening situation, we aimed to process 15 000 residual PreservCyt cervical samples in a period of 3 months. During a 3 months period, four technicians were involved in processing 5000 specimens per month on three automated platforms, (1) Qiagen Digene HC2 HPV DNA test (HC2, signal amplification); (2) Roche Cobas HPV test (DNA amplification), and (3) Hologic Aptima HPV test (RNA amplification). We measured and scored general aspects (time-to-results, hands-on-time (HOT)), maintenance, pre-run, run and post-run aspects, inventory (orders, storage), and number of errors on a scale from 1 to 10. As determined for one complete workflow each, maximum processing capacity and HOT were 296 samples and 2 h:55 m, 282 samples and 3 h:20 m, and 264 samples and 4 h:15 m for Aptima, Cobas, and HC2, respectively. The mean throughput time per run was 5 h:51 m for Cobas in which 94 samples could be processed. For Aptima, the mean throughput time per run was 6 h:30 m for 60 samples. Mean throughput time for HC2 is longer since results were provided on day 2. In this study, the fully automated Aptima workflow scores best with a 7.2, followed by Cobas with a score of 7.1 and HC2 with a score of 5.8. Although all HPV tests used in this comparison meet the international test guidelines, the performance (workflow) characteristics of the assays vary widely. A specific choice of a laboratory for high-throughput testing can be different based on the laboratory’s demands, but also hands-on-time, time-to-results/ # samples, maintenance, pre-run, run and post-run parameters, consumables, technical support, and number of errors are important operational factors for the selection of a fully automated workflow for hrHPV testing.

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A P M I S. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica
Department of Pathology

Loonen, A., Huijsmans, C.J., Geurts-Giele, W.R.R., Leeijen, C., van der Linden, J., & van den Brule, A. J. C. (2020). Performance analysis of high-throughput HPV testing on three automated workflows. A P M I S. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica, 128(8), 497–505. doi:10.1111/apm.13064