Diagnostic accuracy of menstrual blood for human papillomavirus detection in cervical cancer screening: a systematic review

14 Jul 2022
Priyal Chakravarti, Amita Maheshwari, Shweta Tahlan, Prithviraj Kadam, Sonali Bagal, Suvarna Gore, Nandkumar Panse, Kedar Deodhar, Pankaj Chaturvedi, Rajesh Dikshit, Atul Budukh

Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among females and a major public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There are several screening tests available for cervical cancer screening; however, due to a lack of organised screening facilities as well as factors such as low participation rates in screening programmes, many women die due to cervical cancer. To reach out to a large number of women, an easy, non-invasive and time-saving screening method is required. Evidence supports that cervical cancer screening with human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid (HPV DNA) testing is the most effective technique for lowering the incidence and mortality associated with cervical cancer when compared to other screening methods. Furthermore, a small number of studies have reported that menstrual blood can be used as an alternative sample for HPV detection for cervical cancer screening. We have done a systematic review of the studies that have reported the diagnostic accuracy of menstrual blood to detect HPV. We found five studies in our literature search. The studies showed the diagnostic accuracy of menstrual blood in terms of sensitivity ranging from 82.8% to 97.7% and specificity ranging from 50.0% to 98.0% in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or HPV infection detection. This review supports the use of menstrual blood as a screening tool for cervical cancer especially in LMICs where women are reluctant to participate in cervical cancer screening due to issues such as embarrassment and discomfort to test procedures as well as busy schedules. However, further studies are required to compare the diagnostic accuracy of menstrual blood in detecting HPV compared to other self-sampled HPV detection methods. This is one of the methods that can be explored further for use as a cervical cancer screening test.

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