HPV testing for cervical cancer screening: Technical improvement of laboratory logistics and good clinical performance of the cobas 6800 in comparison to the 4800 system.

Helena Frayle, Silvia Gori, Martina Rizzi, Bianca Nives Graziani, Elisa Vian, Paolo Giorgi Rossi, Annarosa Del Mistro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: European guidelines for cervical cancer screening now recommend the use of clinically validated assays for high-risk HPV-DNA sequences as primary test in women older than 30 years, performed in centralized laboratories, and run on systems providing automated solutions for all steps. Methods: We conducted a comparison study, according to the international guidelines, nested within the organized population-based cervical screening program, between the cobas 4800 and 6800 systems (Roche Diagnostics), to evaluate accuracy and reproducibility of HPV test results and laboratory workflow. In Italy implementation of HPV cervical screening is under way on a regional basis; in Veneto it started in June 2015, following a piloting phase; the assay in use in the three centralized laboratories is the cobas 4800 HPV test, run on the cobas 4800 system. Comparison of HPV results with a new version of the assay (cobas 6800/8800 HPV) run on the cobas 6800 system, and intra- and inter-reproducibility analyses have been conducted in samples collected in PreservCyt medium (Hologic) from women without and with a subsequent diagnosis of high-grade lesion. Results: Samples from women older than 30 years attending organized cervical cancer screening were used. Clinical sensitivity and specificity were evaluated on 60 cases and 925 controls, respectively; intra-laboratory reproducibility and inter-laboratory agreement by the 6800 system were evaluated on 593 and 460 specimens, respectively. Our results showed a very high agreement (> 98%) for overall qualitative results between the two systems; clinical sensitivity and specificity of the HPV assay run on 6800 were non-inferior to those of the HPV assay run on 4800 (p = 0,0157 and p = 0,0056, respectively, at the recommended thresholds of 90 and 98%); kappa values of 0.967 and 0.969 were obtained for intra- and inter-laboratory reproducibility analyses in the 6800 system. The 6800 platform displayed several technological improvements over the 4800 system, with higher throughput and laboratory productivity, and lower operator's hands-on time. Conclusions: The new cobas 6800/8800 HPV assay run on the 6800 instrument is suitable for use in large centralized laboratories included within population-based cervical cancer screening programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 25 2019


  • Automation
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Clinical performance
  • HPV testing
  • Technical improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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