Developing a combined screening and molecular triage approach for cervical cancer based on HPV detection, quantification, genotyping and DNA methylation in self-samples. 01/11/2022 - 31/10/2024


37% of the population eligible for cervical cancer screening in Flanders is not reached by the current program. Here, self-sampling could pose an alternative strategy for this hard-to-reach population. Persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of nearly all cervical cancer cases. Consequently, HPV DNA detection is considered the superior screening test to date due to its increased sensitivity as compared to cytology. However, it is associated with a lower clinical specificity as the majority of HPV infections are spontaneously cleared and do not result in clinically relevant disease. Thereby an additional triage step is necessary to prevent over-referral and potentially overtreatment which can be done by cytology. HPV DNA-based screening can already be performed on self-samples, however, this is not the case for cytology. By developing a fully molecular, combined screen and triage approach (one-step) based on HPV DNA detection, quantification, genotyping, and DNA methylation and that can be applied on self-samples (as well as cervical samples), we will provide a solution for the current screen and triage challenges. This will avoid over referral and allow better guided management of women needing treatment, while simultaneously increasing the participation rate. As such, the morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer could be reduced and both the health of the patients as well as the costs for the healthcare system would be positively affected.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project