MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cervical scrapings were collected from women attending clinics for routine Pap smear screening. HPV-DNA was detected by PCR using MY09/11 and GP5+/GP6+ primer sets and genotyping was accomplished by cycle-sequencing.
RESULTS: A total of 635 women were recruited into the study with mean ± SD age of 43 ± 10.5 years. Of these 92.6% (588/635) were reported as within normal limits (WNL) on cytology. The presence of HPV infection detected by nested MY/GP+-PCR was 4.4% (28/635). The overall prevalence of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) in abnormal Pap smears was 53.8% (7/13). HPVs were also seen in 3.1% (18/588) of smears reported as WNL by cytology and 5.9% (2/34) in smears unsatisfactory for evaluation.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall percentage of HPV positivity in routine cervical screening samples is comparable with abnormal findings in cytology. Conventional Pap smear 'missed' a few samples. Since HPV testing is expensive, our results may provide valuable information for strategising implementation of effective cervical cancer screening in a country with limited resources like Malaysia. If Pap smear coverage could be improved, HPV testing could be used as an adjunct method on cases with ambiguous diagnoses.