International journal of molecular sciences 2016 05 1717(5) doi 10.3390/ijms17050750
The link between infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) and cervical cancer has been clearly demonstrated. Virological end-points showing the absence of persistent HPV infection are now accepted as a way of monitoring the impact of prophylactic vaccination programs and therapeutic vaccine trials. This study investigated the use of urine samples, which can be collected by self-sampling at home, instead of cervical samples for follow-up of an HPV intervention trial. Eighteen initially HPV DNA-positive women participating in an HPV therapeutic vaccine trial were monitored during a three-year follow-up period. A total of 172 urine samples and 85 cervical samples were collected. We obtained a paired urine sample for each of the 85 cervical samples by recovering urine samples from six monthly gynaecological examinations. We performed a small pilot study in which the participating women used a urine collection device at home and returned their urine sample to the laboratory by mail. All samples were analyzed using quantitative real-time HPV DNA PCR. A good association (κ value of 0.65) was found between the presence of HPV DNA in urine and a subsequent cervical sample. Comparisons of the number of HPV DNA copies in urine and paired cervical samples revealed a significant Spearman rho of 0.676. This correlation was superior in women with severe lesions. The HPV DNA results of the small pilot study based on self-collected urine samples at home are consistent with previous and subsequent urine and/or cervical results. We demonstrated that urine sampling may be a valid alternative to cervical samples for the follow-up of HPV intervention trials or programs. The potential clinical value of urine viral load monitoring should be further investigated.