Objective: Eastern European countries are contemplating to introduce the high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-test as the primary screening test for their cervical cancer screening programme, but its optimal protocol is yet unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the costs, effects and cost-effectiveness of different primary HPV-screening protocols in Eastern Europe, using Slovenia as an example and with respect of local preferences for screening. Methods: We evaluated 968 HPV-screening protocols, which varied by screening ages, triage tests (i.e. cytology, repeat HPV and/or genotyping) and strategy for women under 35 years old, using the microsimulation model MISCAN-Cervix. Results: Within the subset of strategies that would be acceptable for Slovenian women, the optimal HPV-screening protocol is to start with two cytology tests at age 25 and 28 and switch to 5-yearly HPV screening from age 30 to 65. When also other protocols were considered, the optimal screening strategy would be 5-yearly HPV screening from age 30 to 65 only, improving the cost-effectiveness with 5%. Adding genotyping in the triage algorithm consistently improved cost-effectiveness. Sensitivity analyses showed the robustness of the results for other situations in Eastern Europe. Conclusions: Despite differences in cervical cancer epidemiology between Eastern and Western European regions where HPV screening was evaluated, the optimal screening protocol was found to be very similar. Furthermore, strategies that were considered socially acceptable to the population were found to be almost as cost-effective as less acceptable strategies and can therefore be considered a viable alternative to prevent opportunistic screening.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by the EU-Framework Programme (Horizon 2020; project reference 634753; PI: prof HJ de Koning, MD PhD, Erasmus MC) of the European Commission. The grant did not include external peer review. The funder was not involved in the study design, performing the analyses or writing the paper.
© 2020 The Author(s)