Detection of HPV DNA in urine and monitoring the impact of HPV vaccination

Date: 4 July 2016

Venue: UAntwerp - Campus Drie Eiken - Building Q - Promotiezaal - Universiteitsplein 1 - 2610 WILRIJK

Time: 4:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

PhD candidate: Alex Vorsters

Principal investigator: Prof P. Van Damme & Prof G. Ieven

Short description: PhD defence Alex Vorsters - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences


This work contributes to a better understanding of the origin of HPV DNA in urine and how to optimize its detection. We demonstrated that lack of knowledge and lack of standardisation lead to very contrasting results when reporting HPV DNA prevalence in urine. By taking a number of precautions such as ensuring DNA stability and guaranteeing collection of first void urine, lower levels of HPV DNA will become detectable and reported HPV DNA positivity in urine will increase.  Availability of a urine collection device, guaranteeing first void urine sampling and immediate mixing of urine with a preservative, provided the required standardisation for the large scale sampling presented in the second part of this work. Urine sampling was well accepted by adolescent girls participating in a preventive vaccine impact study as well as by women enrolled in the follow-up of an HPV therapeutic vaccination trial. In addition, we were able to confirm the validity of urine HPV DNA testing in both settings. Indeed, significant differences in HPV positivity were observed between vaccinated and non-vaccinated girls in the HPV preventive vaccine trial. Also validity of urinary HPV DNA results during follow-up of therapeutic HPV vaccination trial was confirmed by substantial kappa correlation between paired urine and cervical samples. The role of HPV DNA urine testing in HPV cervical cancer screening programmes clearly needs further research. Nonetheless, based on the correlation between numbers of HPV copies in paired urine and cervical samples, we can conclude that the application to cervical cancer screening is very encouraging.