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The Selfie Study to Detect Cervical Precancers

Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as a primary strategy for cervical cancer screening improves the sensitivity for cervical precancer detection, compared to Pap cytology, while providing greater long-term reassurance following a negative HPV test. Moreover, HPV testing can be successfully performed on self-collected specimens, offering the possibility of expanding access to cervical cancer screening among women in both high- and low-resource settings.

Despite the many advantages of primary HPV screening, the current challenge is how to optimize secondary triage testing to determine who among the many women testing positive for HPV are at high-risk and require immediate colposcopy or treatment, while avoiding unnecessary harms among women at low risk.

Research has shown strong associations between methylation in HPV genes E2, L2, and L1 with cervical precancer and cancer; however, HPV DNA methylation has not been evaluated in self-collected samples. Evaluating the feasibility of HPV DNA methylation testing from self-collected samples is essential for determining the extent to which this assay can address the critical need for HPV triage in high- and low-resource settings. The Selfie Study, a Cancer Moonshot priority, will be the first application of an HPV DNA methylation assay on self-collected samples.

For more information, contact Dr. Megan Clarke.

Clinical Epidemiology Unit - Research Areas