BMJ open 2016 09 136(9) e012547 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012547
A biomarker with increased specificity for cervical dysplasia compared with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing would be an attractive option for cervical cancer screening among HIV-infected women in resource-limited settings. p16(INK4a) has been explored as a biomarker for screening in general populations.
A 2-year cross-sectional study.
2 large HIV primary care clinics in western Kenya.
1054 HIV-infected women in western Kenya undergoing cervical cancer screening as part of routine HIV care from October 2010 to November 2012.
Participants underwent p16(INK4a) specimen collection and colposcopy. Lesions with unsatisfactory colposcopy or suspicious for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2+ (CIN2+; including CIN2/3 or invasive cervical cancer) were biopsied. Following biopsy, disease status was determined by histopathological diagnosis.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES
We measured the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of p16(INK4a) ELISA for CIN2+ detection among HIV-infected women and compared them to the test characteristics of current screening methods used in general as well as HIV-infected populations.
Average p16(INK4a) concentration in cervical samples was 37.4 U/mL. After colposcopically directed biopsy, 127 (12%) women were determined to have CIN2+. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed an area under the curve of 0.664 for p16(INK4a) to detect biopsy-proven CIN2+. At a p16(INK4a) cut-off level of 9 U/mL, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were 89.0%, 22.9%, 13.6% and 93.8%, respectively. The overall p16(INK4a) positivity at a cut-off level of 9 U/mL was 828 (78.6%) women. There were 325 (30.8%) cases of correct p16(INK4a) prediction to detect or rule out CIN2+, and 729 (69.2%) cases of incorrect p16(INK4a) prediction.
p16(INK4a) ELISA did not perform well as a screening test for CIN2+ detection among HIV-infected women due to low specificity. Our study contributes to the ongoing search for a more specific alternative to HPV testing for CIN2+ detection.