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Detection of high-risk subtypes of human papillomavirus in cervical swabs: routine use of the Digene Hybrid Capture assay and polymerase chain reaction analysis.Brennan, M M; Lambkin, H A; Sheehan, C D; Ryan, D D; O'Connor, T C; Kealy, W F; Department of Histopathology, Cytology and Gynaecology, Cork University Hospital,, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2012-02-03)Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are major causative agents in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer, and more than twenty types are associated with its development. With the introduction of liquid-based preparation systems, it is envisaged that large-scale HPV testing will be established in the near future. Preliminary studies demonstrate the accessibility of these samples for DNA testing using both the Digene Hybrid Capture assay (DHCA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. This study aims to assess the validity and sensitivity of the DHCA system to detect high-risk HPV DNA, using two sets of HPV consensus primers (Gp5+/Gp6+ and MY09/MY11) in tandem with routine assessment of cervical smear and biopsy samples. Results indicate that the combination of DHCA and PCR detects more high-grade lesions than does the DHCA alone. DHCA-negative cases were categorised by subsequent PCR amplification into low-grade HPV-negative (12/16) cervical lesions and high-grade HPV-positive (7/9) cervical lesions. Gp5+/Gp6+ primers were less sensitive in detecting HPV-positive samples than was the MY09/MY11 primer set. These results support the use of high-risk HPV testing by DHCA, with subsequent analysis of DHCA-negative samples by PCR using the MY09/MY11 primers.