IPVC 2021 Virtual Poster Walk with Anna Gottschlich

IPVC 2021 Virtual Poster Walk with Anna Gottschlich

Name: Anna Gottschlich
Discipline: HPV-based cervix screening
Institution: University of British Columbia
Department: School of Population and Public Health

Another year of virtual conferences just means we’re getting better at virtual poster sessions!  And given the number of high-quality posters at IPVC this year, I’d say we’re definitely not letting the pandemic slow down our important work.

The pandemic has presented additional challenges in accessing cervix screening, particularly among vulnerable populations (see this article on how the pandemic is expected to affect cancer mortality in Canada due to health care delays).  It is becoming increasingly important to find novel methods that can reach under-screened populations.  To see an example of a novel screening tool that may increase access in underserved populations, head over to ID 934 “THE CLINICAL PERFORMANCE OF ALINITY m HR HPV ASSAY ON SELF-COLLECTED VAGINAL AND URINE SAMPLES WITHIN VALHUDES FRAMEWORK”.  Here, investigators compared the clinical sensitivity and specificity of an HPV assay on self-collected urine and vaginal samples to clinician-collected cervical samples, finding similar results across collection types.  This is great to see, as the use of self-collection methods to screen for cervical cancer may reduce barriers to screening (check out this interesting article on screening uptake among non-screeners with the use of self-collection methods).

However, before we can implement new screening methods, such as self-collection HPV testing, screeners must first know of the availability of the method and second be open to using it. If screeners are not given adequate knowledge on new methods, they may be susceptible to misinformation, which could hinder screening uptake (for an example, look here). To see an interesting study on knowledge and acceptability of HPV-based cervix screening, make sure to check out ID 275 “AWARENESS AND ACCEPTABILITY OF PRIMARY HPV TESTING AND PATIENT SELF-COLLECTION IN SCREENING ELIGIBLE WOMEN”, where researchers found low awareness but high acceptability of self-collection HPV testing.  While less than ¼ of participants knew about HPV screening, over ¾ of those interviewed were willing to perform self-collection HPV testing at home!

If you’re thinking about the use of novel screening tools specifically in under-resourced settings, take a (virtual) walk over to ID 573 “PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF THE AMPFIRE MULTIPLEX AMPLIFICATION ASSAY FOR DETECTION AND GENOTYPING OF HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS SCREENING IN BOTSWANA”.  Here, researchers evaluated the performance of an affordable HPV-testing assay and found it perform extremely well in their setting.  Lower-cost HPV testing options are particularly useful in LMICs, where cytology is often not available, and rates of cervical cancer are high.

Finally, don’t miss ID 456 “PILOT STUDY OF THE UTILITY AND PROGNOSTIC VALUE OF VAGINAL HPV DNA IN PATIENTS UNDERGOING CURATIVE TREATMENT FOR CERVICAL CANCER”.  While the sample size was small for this study, the results suggest that persistent HPV after treatment for cervical cancer may be related with recurrence of the cancer.  It was an important reminder to me that we can use HPV testing not only for cervix screening, but also to determine who is still at high risk after treatment for precancer and cancer.

I hope you take some time to explore these and the many other exciting posters available at IPVC this year.  While we missed being together in Toronto this year, we hope to all be together at IPVC 2023.  Happy poster viewing!