Publications by authors named "Julia M L Brotherton"

124 Publications

Human papillomavirus prevalence and risk factors among Australian women 9-12 years after vaccine program introduction.

Vaccine 2021 Aug 17;39(34):4856-4863. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; The Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: In Australia, high and widespread uptake of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has led to substantial population-level reductions in the prevalence of quadrivalent vaccine targeted HPV genotypes 6/11/16/18 in women aged ≤ 35 years. We assessed risk factors for HPV detection among 18-35 year old women, 9-12 years after vaccine program introduction.

Methods: Women attending health services between 2015 and 2018 provided a self-collected vaginal specimen for HPV genotyping (Roche Linear Array) and completed a questionnaire. HPV vaccination status was validated against the National Register. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for factors associated with HPV detection.

Results: Among 1564 women (median age 24 years; IQR 21-27 years), Register-confirmed ≥ 1-dose vaccine coverage was highest at 69.3% and 68.1% among women aged 18-21 and 22-24 years respectively, decreasing to 42.9% among those aged 30-35 years. Overall prevalence of quadrivalent vaccine-targeted HPV types was very low (2.0%; 95% CI: 1.4-2.8%) and influenced only by vaccination status (5.5% among unvaccinated compared with 0.7% among vaccinated women; aOR = 0.13 (95% CI: 0.05-0.30)). Prevalence of remaining HPV types, at 40.4% (95% CI: 38.0-42.9%), was influenced by established risk factors for HPV infection; younger age-group (p-trend < 0.001), more recent (p < 0.001) and lifetime sexual partners (p-trend < 0.001), but not vaccination status. Prevalence of HPV31/33/45, which shared risk factors with that of non-vaccine targeted HPV types, was also lower among vaccinated (4%) compared with unvaccinated (7%) women (aOR = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.29-0.89), indicative of cross-protection.

Conclusion: Vaccination has changed the epidemiology of HPV infection in Australian women, having markedly reduced the prevalence of vaccine-targeted types, including amongst women with known risk factors for infection. Vaccinated women appear to be benefiting from modest cross-protection against types 31/33/45 afforded by the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. These results reinforce the importance of HPV vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.07.005DOI Listing
August 2021

School-based HPV vaccination positively impacts parents' attitudes toward adolescent vaccination.

Vaccine 2021 Jul 12;39(30):4190-4198. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Speciality of Child and Adolescent Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Introduction: This qualitative study aimed to explore parental attitudes, knowledge and decision-making about HPV vaccination for adolescents in the context of a gender-neutral school-based Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with parents of adolescents eligible for HPV vaccination were undertaken as part of an evaluation of a cluster-randomised controlled trial of a complex intervention in 40 schools (2013-2015). In this qualitative study, we purposively recruited a nested sample of parents from 11 schools across two Australian jurisdictions. Interviews explored parent knowledge and understanding of the HPV vaccine program; HPV vaccination decision-making; their adolescent's knowledge about HPV vaccination; and their adolescent's understanding about HPV vaccination, sexual awareness and behaviour. Transcripts were analysed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis.

Results: Parents' of 22 adolescents had positive attitudes towards the program; the school-based delivery platform was the key driver shaping acceptance of and decision-making about HPV vaccination. They had difficulty recalling, or did not read, HPV vaccination information sent home. Some adolescents were involved in discussions about vaccination, with parents' responsible for ultimate vaccine decision-making. All parents supported in-school education for adolescents about HPV and HPV vaccination. Parents' knowledge about HPV vaccination was limited to cervical cancer and was largely absent regarding vaccination in males.

Conclusions: Parents' positive attitudes towards the NIP and inclusion of the HPV vaccine is central to their vaccine decision-making and acceptance. More intensive communication strategies including school education opportunities are required to improve parents' knowledge of HPV-related disease and to promote vaccine decision-making with adolescents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.05.051DOI Listing
July 2021

National genotype prevalence and age distribution of human papillomavirus from infection to cervical cancer in Japanese women: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.

Syst Rev 2021 05 5;10(1):135. Epub 2021 May 5.

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Despite prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination being a safe, effective and cost-effective public health intervention for the prevention of cervical cancer, the HPV vaccine is not actively recommended or promoted by the Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare in Japan. With already very low levels of cervical screening below 30%, and vaccination levels that are below levels that award any population effect at 0.3% of the eligible population, cervical cancer mortality is higher than other similar high-income countries at 4.4/100,000 (2900) deaths per year in 2015. There is limited population-based or nationally representative data for HPV genotype distribution in Japan, thus making an assessment of the burden of vaccine-preventable cervical cancer difficult. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis aims to determine the HPV genotype prevalence and age distribution of HPV infection in women with a cytological or histological diagnosis of normal through cervical cancer in Japan. We anticipate this information will guide and enhance programme interventions to reduce vaccine-preventable cervical cancer mortality in Japan.

Methods: PubMed, Embase and the Japan Medical Abstract Society Database will be searched from the date of establishment to March 2021 to identify original research articles that report the prevalence of HPV genotypes in Japanese women with normal cervical cytology, low grade, high grade and cancerous cervical lesions. No exclusion criteria relating to language or publication date will be applied. The quality of the studies will be assessed using the Joanna Briggs checklist for prevalence studies. Randomised control trials, cohort studies, cross-sectional and prevalence studies will be considered eligible. Study findings will be combined using a traditional random-effects or fixed-effects meta-analysis to summarise pooled prevalence and 95% confidence intervals depending on heterogeneity. Subgroup analyses and meta-regression will be used to investigate heterogeneity, and sensitivity analyses will be conducted to assess the robustness of the findings.

Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review protocol that includes both Japanese and English peer-reviewed articles for the determination of genotype-specific HPV prevalence in cytological or histological confirmed normal cervical specimens, low- and high-grade intraepithelial lesions and cervical cancers by age in Japan. We anticipate this information will guide and enhance programme interventions to reduce vaccine-preventable cervical cancer mortality in Japan.

Systematic Review Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018117596.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01686-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101252PMC
May 2021

Health care provider perspectives on cervical screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: a qualitative study.

Aust N Z J Public Health 2021 Apr 8;45(2):150-157. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory.

Objective: To investigate perspectives of primary health care providers (HCPs) on providing cervical screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who experience a higher burden of cervical cancer than other Australian women.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 13 HCPs from four Australian Indigenous primary health care centres (PHCCs). Transcripts were thematically analysed.

Results: HCPs discussed the need to approach cervical screening with sensitivity to women's emotional and cultural needs and sustaining relationships built on trust and respect. HCPs reported challenges in promoting screening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women due to cumbersome systems, competing clinical priorities, workforce capacity limitations and specific challenges associated with implementing the renewed National Cervical Screening Program.

Conclusions: In practice, HCPs experience several challenges to delivering cervical screening. Understanding HCPs' perspectives on their approach to cervical screening delivery, and the systems in which this occurs, can help to ensure that they receive adequate support and resources to deliver cervical screening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Implications for public health: It is important that HCPs adopt a multi-faceted, person-centred approach to cervical screening that is responsive to women's needs and that works synchronously with supportive PHCC services and systems and the National Cancer Screening Register.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.13084DOI Listing
April 2021

Australian National Cervical Screening Program renewal: Attitudes and experiences of general practitioners, and obstetricians and gynaecologists.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2021 06 29;61(3):416-423. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: In 2017, the Australian National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) implemented five-yearly primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening for women aged 25-74. It is important that clinicians are able to explain the NCSP changes to women and confidently address concerns.

Aims: This study examined Australian clinicians' attitudes toward and experiences of the NCSP renewal since its implementation.

Materials And Methods: Cross-sectional survey of clinicians (general practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecologists) involved in cervical screening, distributed two years after implementation of the renewed NCSP. Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results: Six hundred and seven participants completed the survey. More than 80% of clinicians were comfortable with the main NCSP changes: extended screening intervals, increased age of first screening, and screening test used. However, only 47% of clinicians reported having utilised the National Cancer Screening Register, and a third of clinicians did not believe that self-collection was a reasonable alternative to practitioner-collected screening for under-screened women. Increased demands for colposcopy were reported. All clinicians identified at least one area of educational need, including the management of women with a history of screen-detected abnormalities in the previous program (34.9%), post-colposcopy management for women with no abnormalities detected (25.5%), and screening in complex scenarios (eg immunocompromise) (26.5%).

Conclusions: Overall, Australian clinicians are comfortable with the main changes to the cervical screening program. Certain areas may require further policy review, such as screening in complex clinical scenarios, colposcopy availability, accessibility of the Register and self-collection. These issues could be meaningful for other countries switching to HPV-based screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajo.13310DOI Listing
June 2021

Quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination successfully reduces the prevalence of vaccine-targeted genotypes in a young, vaccine-eligible-age sample of Australian females.

Sex Health 2020 12;17(6):510-516

Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases Research, Royal Women's Hospital, 20 Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia; and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Infection and Immunity, Royal Women's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

Background The prevalence of genital tract vaccine-type human papillomavirus (HPV) is on the decline due to high vaccine uptake through the national HPV immunisation program in Australia. The aim of this study was to investigate HPV vaccine coverage and factors associated with HPV in a vaccine-eligible sample of young Australian females.

Methods: Females aged 16-25 years were recruited into the Young Female Health Initiative study, a young women's health study, via Facebook advertising from 2012 to 2017. Sexually active participants were asked to provide a self-collected vaginal swab for the detection of HPV DNA; positive samples were genotyped. Self-reported HPV vaccination status was confirmed by the National HPV Vaccination Program Register. Outcomes of the study were HPV acquisition and genotype, HPV vaccination status and factors associated with HPV.

Results: Overall, 22.8% of samples (95% confidence interval (CI) 17.8-27.8%; n = 62/272) were positive for any HPV DNA, of which 19.1% (95% CI 14.4-23.8%; n = 52/272) were oncogenic types. HPV 16 was detected in three samples (1.1%; 95% CI -0.1%, 2.3%; two not HPV vaccinated and one vaccinated after sexual debut). Early sexual debut (<16 years) and multiple sexual partners were independently associated with an increased risk of any HPV.

Conclusions: In a community sample of vaccine-eligible-age females with a high vaccine uptake, the prevalence of vaccine-related HPV genotypes is extremely low. Early sexual debut and multiple sexual partners are positively associated with HPV, underscoring the importance of vaccination at the routinely recommended age of 12-13 years for best vaccine impact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH20033DOI Listing
December 2020

Getting the timing right: Women's views on the best time to announce changes to cancer screening policy recommendations.

Prev Med Rep 2020 Dec 28;20:101268. Epub 2020 Nov 28.

Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

In December 2017, the Australian National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) changed from 2-yearly cervical cytology to 5-yearly primary human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, starting at age 25 and with an exit test when aged 70-74. Women showed limited awareness of these changes prior to their implementation. We explored women's preferences for how similar cancer screening changes could be communicated to the public in the future, including when, how, and using what methods. Six focus groups including 49 women aged 18-74 were conducted in November 2017. Focus groups were guided by information available on the NCSP website and information developed by the researchers. Generally, women suggested that communication of changes to cancer screening programs would ideally occur between 6 and 12 months ahead of their implementation and that they would like the opportunity to be involved in consultation about the changes. The NCSP website was described as answering basic questions, but also raising further questions for which there were no answers provided. Most groups preferred information which included evidence behind the changes and wanted an option of more information. Similar suggestions were made across all focus groups about how communications could be delivered, with recognition that the mode of delivery should differ by age. Women were still seeking information about the test itself and a symptom list, in order to be aware of these over the five-year period. These findings make an important and timely contribution which could help inform other countries considering making changes to their cancer screening programs in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2020.101268DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7724372PMC
December 2020

Could HPV Testing on Self-collected Samples Be Routinely Used in an Organized Cervical Screening Program? A Modeled Analysis.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Feb 20;30(2):268-277. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Cervical screening on self-collected samples has mainly been considered for targeted use in underscreened women. Updated evidence supports equivalent sensitivity of PCR-based human papillomavirus (HPV) testing on self-collected and clinician-collected samples.

Methods: Using a well-established model, we compared the lifetime impact on cancer diagnoses and deaths resulting from cervical screening using self-collected samples only, with and without the existing restriction in Australia to women aged 30+ years and ≥2 years overdue, compared with the mainstream program of 5-yearly HPV screening on clinician-collected samples starting at 25 years of age. We conservatively assumed sensitivity of HPV testing on self-collected relative to clinician-collected samples was 0.98. Outcomes were estimated either in the context of HPV vaccination ("routinely vaccinated cohorts;" uptake as in Australia) or in the absence of HPV vaccination ("unvaccinated cohorts").

Results: In unvaccinated cohorts, the health benefits of increased participation from self-collection outweighed the worst case (2%) loss of relative test sensitivity even if only 15% of women, who would not otherwise attend, used it ("additional uptake"). In routinely vaccinated cohorts, population-wide self-collection could be marginally (0.2%-1.0%) less effective at 15% additional uptake but 6.2% to 12.4% more effective at 50% additional uptake. Most (56.6%-65.0%) of the loss in effectiveness in the restricted self-collection pathway in Australia results from the requirement to be 2 or more years overdue.

Conclusions: Even under pessimistic assumptions, any potential loss in test sensitivity from self-collection is likely outweighed by improved program effectiveness resulting from feasible levels of increased uptake.

Impact: Consideration could be given to offering self-collection more widely, potentially as an equal choice for women..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0998DOI Listing
February 2021

Surveillance systems for monitoring cervical cancer elimination efforts: Focus on HPV infection, cervical dysplasia, cervical screening and treatment.

Prev Med 2021 03 17;144:106293. Epub 2020 Oct 17.

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton 3053, Victoria, Australia; Kirby Institute, Level 6, Wallace Wurth Building, University of New South Wales, High Street, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia; Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women's Hospital, Grattan St & Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia.

In order to achieve the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, close surveillance of progress in public health and clinical activities and outcomes across the three pillars of vaccination, screening and treatment will be required. Surveillance should ideally occur within an integrated system that is planned, funded, and regularly evaluated to ensure it is providing timely, accurate and relevant feedback for action. In this paper, we conceptualise the main public health surveillance objectives as process and outcome measures in each of the three pillars. Process measures include coverage/participation measures for vaccination, screening and treatment alongside the ongoing assessment of the quality and reach of these programs and activities. Outcome measures related to the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection include HPV infection prevalence, precursor cervical lesions and cervical cancers (including stage at diagnosis, cancer incidence and mortality). These outcome measures can be used for monitoring the effectiveness of the three core activities in the short, medium and long term to assess whether these interventions are effectively reducing their occurrence. We discuss possible methods for the surveillance of these measures in the context of country capacity, drawing from examples in Australia, the USA and in low and middle income countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106293DOI Listing
March 2021

Recurrent post-coital bleeding: Should colposcopy still be mandatory?

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2020 12 10;60(6):952-958. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Oncology and Dysplasia Unit, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Colposcopy has been recommended for all women with recurrent post-coital bleeding (PCB) even if their cervical cytology or co-test (involving oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing and cytology) are negative.

Aims: To determine the risk of cervical cancer and its precursors among women with recurrent PCB with negative cytology or co-test.

Materials And Methods: A retrospective analysis of two cohorts of women with PCB referred to a tertiary colposcopy clinic. Cohort (1) (n = 1846) between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2016 (cytology-based screening) and Cohort (2) (n = 215) from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019 after introduction of primary HPV screening.

Results: In 1217 (65.9%) women in Cohort (1) referred with negative cytology, there was one cancer (0.08%) and 22 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3)) on histopathology. In Cohort (2), there was no cancer or HSIL in 83 women with negative co-tests (negative for oncogenic HPV and cytology). False-negative cytology after a negative referral cytology or co-test was low with 2% of repeat cytology at initial colposcopy showing possible HSIL or worse.

Conclusions: Women presenting with PCB and negative cytology alone have a low risk of cancer and could have HPV testing before being triaged to colposcopy. We showed that with the assurance of a negative co-test and the low likelihood of false-negative cytology, these women could avoid colposcopy unless cervical cancer is clinically suspected. There is a need for a larger cohort study to substantiate our findings with more precision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajo.13247DOI Listing
December 2020

Understanding the participation of breast screening among women born in predominantly Muslim countries living in Victoria, Australia from record-linkage data.

PLoS One 2020 7;15(8):e0237341. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

VICNISS, Melbourne Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Early detection of breast cancer can improve survival rates and decrease mortality rates. This study investigates whether there are significant differences in participation in breast screening among women born in Muslim countries compared to women born in Non-Muslim countries and Australia.

Methods: Screening data from January 1st, 2000 to December 31st, 2013 from the Breast Screen Victoria Registry (BSV) was linked with hospital records from the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset (VAED). Countries having more than 50% of their population as Muslim were categorised as Muslim countries. Age adjusted rates were calculated for women born in Muslim and Non-Muslim countries and compared with the Australian age adjusted rates. Logistic regression assessed the association between screening status and other factors which include country of birth, marital status, age and socio-economic status.

Results: Women born in Muslim countries (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.70, 95%CI = 0.68-0.72) and in other Non-Muslim countries (OR = 0.87, 95%CI = 0.86-0.88) had lower odds of participation in breast screening than Australian born women. Women aged 60-64 years (OR = 1.42, 95%CI = 1.40-1.44) had higher odds of participation in the BreastScreen program than 50-54 age group.

Conclusion: This study provides valuable insights to understanding breast screening participation among women born in Muslim countries residing in Victoria. This population level study contributes to the broader knowledge of screening participation of women born in Muslim countries, an understudied population group in Australia and across the world. This study has implications for breast screening programs as it highlights the need for culturally sensitive approaches to support breast screening participation among women born in Muslim countries.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237341PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7413407PMC
October 2020

Assessment of attribution algorithms for resolving CIN3-related HPV genotype prevalence in mixed-genotype biopsy specimens using laser capture microdissection as the reference standard.

Vaccine 2020 09 28;38(40):6312-6319. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Regional HPV LabNet Reference Laboratory, Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases Research, The Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

To make accurate determinations regarding potential and actual impact of HPV vaccine programs, precise estimates of genotype-specific contributions to disease are required for pre- and post-vaccine populations. Definitive determination of lesion-specific genotypes, particularly where multiple genotypes are detected in a sample, can be technically demanding and resource intensive; therefore, most prevalence studies use mathematical algorithms to adjust for multiple genotype detections. There are currently several algorithms, which can produce genotype estimates within a wide range of variability. The use of these for cervical cytology samples has recently been assessed for accuracy against a definitive reference standard, but none have yet been assessed for multiple-genotype-containing whole biopsy specimens. Using laser capture microdissection (LCM) on biopsy samples, lesion-specific genotype prevalence data were generated for a cohort of 516 young Australian women (aged 18-32 years) with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or adenocarcinoma in situ. Using whole tissue section genotype data from the same cohort, including 71 (13.7%) with multiple genotypes, lesion-associated genotype prevalence was estimated using four different attribution algorithms. The proportion of lesions attributable to HPV16 and HPV18 by LCM were 58.4% and 5%, respectively; hierarchical, proportional, single type/minimum and any type/maximum attribution estimates were comparable across genotypes. For analyses utilising whole tissue biopsy cervical specimens, attribution estimates are appropriate for estimating the proportional contribution of individual genotypes to lesions in a population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.07.036DOI Listing
September 2020

HPV16/18 prevalence in high-grade cervical lesions in an Australian population offered catch-up HPV vaccination.

Vaccine 2020 09 28;38(40):6304-6311. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Regional HPV LabNet Reference Laboratory, Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3050, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

Objectives: Using laser capture microdissection (LCM) and sensitive human papillomavirus (HPV) genotyping, we aimed to determine the distribution of vaccine-preventable types in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) lesions and adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) in young women in Victoria, Australia, offered catch-up HPV vaccination, as a baseline for ongoing vaccine impact monitoring. We also compared findings with available pre-vaccination estimates from women with HPV detected on concurrently-collected cytology samples.

Methods: Consecutive histologically-confirmed CIN3/AIS biopsies were collected between May 2011 and December 2014 from vaccine-eligible women (born after 30th June 1981). Genotypes present in whole tissue sections (WTS) were determined by a sensitive reverse hybridisation assay; RHA kit HPV SPF10-LiPA25, v1 (Labo Bio-medical Products). Where multiple genotypes were detected, lesions were isolated using LCM and genotyped. Cervical cytology samples from a pre-vaccine cohort had been previously collected and genotyped using HPV Linear Array HPV Genotyping Test (Roche Diagnostics). Mixed-genotype detections in this cohort were resolved to single-lesion-attributable genotypes using hierarchical attribution.

Results: Overall, 213 and 530 cases were included from pre- and post-vaccine time-periods, respectively. In 18-25 year-olds, the proportion of HPV16/18-positive CIN3/AIS decreased significantly over time from 69% in 2001-2005 (pre-vaccine), to 62% in 2011-2012 (post-vaccine), to 47% in 2013-2014 (p-trend = 0.004). There was no significant change in HPV16/18 in 26-32 year-olds (p-trend = 0.15). In 2013/14, nonavalent vaccine types accounted for 80% of CIN3/AIS in 18-25 year old women and 90% in 26-32 year old women.

Conclusion: Four to 8 years following implementation of HPV vaccination in Australia, approximately 70% of CIN3/AIS in young women was due to HPV16/18. Our data, despite some limitations due to change in methods between pre- and post-vaccine periods, suggests that for vaccine-eligible women aged 18-25 at the time of biopsy, the proportion of HPV16/18-attributable CIN3/AIS lesions is significantly declining post-vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.07.037DOI Listing
September 2020

Increased risk of cervical dysplasia in females with autoimmune conditions-Results from an Australia database linkage study.

PLoS One 2020 18;15(6):e0234813. Epub 2020 Jun 18.

Department of Neurology, MS and Neuroimmunology Service, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Autoimmune conditions (AICs) and/or their treatment may alter risk of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and females with AICs are therefore at an increased risk of cervical dysplasia. However, inclusion of these at-risk populations in cervical cancer screening and HPV-vaccination guidelines, are mostly lacking. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of cervical dysplasia in a wide range of AICs and compare that to HIV and immunocompetent controls to support the optimisation of cervical cancer preventive health measures.

Methods: Data linkage was used to match cervical screening episodes to emergency department records of females with AICs or HIV to immunocompetent controls over a 14-year period. The primary outcome was histologically confirmed high-grade cervical disease. Results, measured as rates by cytology and histology classification per 1,000 females screened, were analysed per disease group, and intergroup comparisons were performed.

Results: Females with inflammatory bowel disease (2,683), psoriatic and enteropathic arthropathies (1,848), multiple sclerosis (MS) (1,426), rheumatoid arthritis (1,246), systemic lupus erythematosus and/or mixed connective tissue disease (SLE/MCTD) (702), HIV (44), and 985,383 immunocompetent controls were included. SLE/MCTD and HIV groups had greater rates of high-grade histological and cytological abnormalities compared to controls. Increased rates of low-grade cytological abnormalities were detected in all females with AICs, with the exception of the MS group.

Conclusions: Females with SLE/MCTD or HIV have increased rates of high-grade cervical abnormalities. The increased low-grade dysplasia rate seen in most females with AICs is consistent with increased HPV infection. These findings support expansion of cervical cancer preventative programs to include these at-risk females.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234813PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302686PMC
August 2020

Indigenous Australian women's experiences of participation in cervical screening.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(6):e0234536. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (collectively, Indigenous Australian) women experience a higher burden of cervical cancer than other women. The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) is failing to meet the needs of Indigenous Australian women, resulting in many women not regularly participating in cervical screening. However, one third of Indigenous Australian women do participate in cervical screening. The reasons that some women in this population commence and continue to screen remain unheard but could provide insights to support women who currently do not participate. We aimed to describe Indigenous Australian women's experiences and views of participation in cervical screening by yarning (a culturally-appropriate interview technique) with 50 Indigenous Australian women aged 25-70 years who had completed cervical screening in the past five years, recruited via Primary Health Care Centres (PHCCs) from three jurisdictions. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women researchers conducted the interviews. Thematic analysis identified six themes: screening as a means of staying strong and in control; overcoming fears, shame, and negative experiences of screening; needing to talk openly about screening; the value of trusting relationships with screening providers; logistical barriers; and overcoming privacy concerns for women employed at PHCCs. Despite describing screening as shameful, invasive, and uncomfortable, women perceived it as a way of staying healthy and exerting control over their health. This ultimately supported their participation and a sense of empowerment. Women valued open discussion about screening and strong relationships with health providers. We identified logistical barriers and specific barriers faced by women employed at PHCCs. This study is strengthened by a research approach that centred Indigenous Australian women's voices. Understanding the experiences of Indigenous Australian women who participate in screening will help screening providers support women to start and continue to screen regularly. Recommendations for practice are provided.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234536PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295213PMC
August 2020

Self-Collection for Cervical Screening Programs: From Research to Reality.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 24;12(4). Epub 2020 Apr 24.

VCS Foundation, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia.

In 2018, there were an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer globally, with most of them occurring in women who either had no access to cervical screening, or had not participated in screening in regions where programs are available. Where programs are in place, a major barrier for women across many cultures has been the requirement to undergo a speculum examination. With the emergence of HPV-based primary screening, the option of self-collection (where the woman takes the sample from the vagina herself) may overcome this barrier, given that such samples when tested using a PCR-based HPV assay have similar sensitivity for the detection of cervical pre-cancers as practitioner-collected cervical specimens. Other advantages of HPV-based screening using self-collection, beyond the increase in acceptability to women, include scalability, efficiency, and high negative predictive value, allowing for long intervals between negative tests. Self-collection will be a key strategy for the successful scale up of cervical screening programs globally in response to the WHO call for all countries to work towards the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem. This review will examine self-collection for HPV-based cervical screening including the collection devices, assays and possible routine laboratory processes considering how they can be utilized in cervical screening programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12041053DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226191PMC
April 2020

More evidence suggesting that 1-dose human papillomavirus vaccination may be effective.

Cancer 2020 04 10;126(8):1602-1604. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32696DOI Listing
April 2020

Levels of anxiety and distress following receipt of positive screening tests in Australia's HPV-based cervical screening programme: a cross-sectional survey.

Sex Transm Infect 2020 05 30;96(3):166-172. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Objective: From December 2017, the Australian National Cervical Screening Program commenced 5 yearly primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening; one of the first high-income countries to implement primary HPV screening. This study aimed to examine the psychosocial impact of self-reporting testing HPV positive in a sample of women screened since the renewal of the programme.

Methods: Women in Australia aged 25-74 years who reported participating in cervical screening since December 2017 were recruited through an online market research company to complete a cross-sectional survey. The primary outcomes were anxiety and general distress.

Results: 1004 women completed the online survey; 80.9% reported testing HPV negative (HPV-), 6.5% reported testing HPV positive (HPV+) and 12.9% did not know/remember their test result. Women who reported testing HPV+ had significantly poorer psychological outcomes on a range of measures. Those who reported testing HPV+ had higher anxiety scores (53.03 vs 43.58 out of 80, p<0.001), showed more general distress (3.94 vs 2.52 out of 12, p=0.004), concern about their test result (5.02 vs 2.37, p<0.001), expressed greater distress about their test result (7.06 vs 4.74, p<0.001) and cancer worry (quite or very worried 35.4% vs 11.6%, p<0.001) than women who reported testing HPV-. Concern regarding test results was also significantly higher in women who did not know/remember their test result (3.20 vs 2.37, p<0.001) compared with women who reported testing HPV-. Women who reported testing HPV+ had greater knowledge of HPV (9.25 vs 6.62, p<0.001) and HPV testing (2.44 vs 1.30, p<0.001) than women who reported testing HPV-.

Conclusions: Receipt of an HPV+ test result was associated with high levels of anxiety and distress, which reached clinical significance. Further work is needed to understand whether distress and concern could be reduced by ensuring all women receive high-quality standardised information with their results or by other interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2019-054290DOI Listing
May 2020

Implementation of Australia's renewed cervical screening program: Preparedness of general practitioners and nurses.

PLoS One 2020 29;15(1):e0228042. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.

The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) in Australia underwent major changes on December 1st, 2017. The program changed from 2-yearly Pap testing for women aged 18-69 years to 5-yearly HPV testing for women aged 25-74 years including differential management pathways for oncogenic HPV 16/18 positive versus HPV non16/18 positive test results and the option of self-collection for under-screened women. We conducted a survey among cervical screening providers in primary care to assess their level of preparedness in undertaking cervical screening before (pre-renewal) and after (post-renewal) the new program was implemented. Surveys were conducted between 14th August and 30th November 2017 (pre-renewal) and 9th February and 26th October 2018 (post-renewal) among cervical screening providers who attended education sessions related to the new guidelines. Preparedness was assessed in three areas: 1) level of comfort implementing the new guidelines (7 questions), 2) level of confidence in their ability to convey information about the new guidelines (9 questions) and 3) level of agreement regarding access to resources to support implementation (11 questions). Proportions were calculated for each question response and pre- and post-renewal periods compared using generalised linear models. Open-ended questions related to anticipated barriers and ways to overcome barriers were also included in the questionnaires. Compared to the pre-renewal period, a higher proportion of practitioners in the post-renewal period were more comfortable offering routine screening to women ≥25 years (p = 0.005) and more confident explaining the rationale for not screening before 25 years (p = 0.015); confident explaining a positive HPV 16/18 (p = 0.04) and HPV non 16/18(p = 0.013) test result and were comfortable with not referring women with a positive HPV non 16/18 test result and low grade/negative cytology for colposcopy (p = 0.01). A higher proportion of Victorian practitioners in the post-renewal period sample were also comfortable (p = 0.04) and confident (p = 0.015) recommending self-collection to under-screened women and agreed that self-collection is a reliable test (p = 0.003). The most commonly reported suggestion was to provide information, education and communication materials to both patients and practitioners. Compared to the pre-renewal period, practitioners in the post-renewal period were better prepared to implement the renewed screening program. Healthcare providers require further support to implement the self-collection pathway.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228042PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6988932PMC
April 2020

Compliance with follow-up Test of Cure and outcomes after treatment for high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in Victoria, Australia.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2020 06 16;60(3):433-437. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Test of Cure (ToC), a combination of testing for oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) and cytology, at 12 months post-treatment and annually thereafter, was approved in Australia in 2005 for follow-up of women treated for high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) of the cervix.

Aims: To determine among women resident in Victoria, Australia, the compliance with ToC and the incidence of recurrence up to five years after successful ToC.

Materials And Methods: A retrospective analysis of women with HSIL (diagnosed at pre-treatment punch biopsy or at excision) who had excisional treatment between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2011. De-identified data were retrieved from the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry in Melbourne as at 24 April, 2015. Successful ToC is defined as the occurrence of two consecutive normal (negative) co-tests. Recurrence after treatment is defined by histologically detected HSIL or greater.

Results: There were 8478 women who had excisional treatment for HSIL, with 448 (5.5%) experiencing recurrence. Only 2253 (26.6%) women successfully completed ToC, with a decreasing likelihood of ToC completion by time since year of treatment (32.0% in 2007 compared with 20.9% in 2011). Only one (0.08%) woman had HSIL on histology after successful ToC. From the 2007 cohort, 555 (32.0%) women completed ToC successfully and no HSIL recurrence occurred thereafter (median subsequent follow-up period of 4.7 years).

Conclusions: Our study confirmed that women who successfully complete ToC can be returned to five-year routine screening. However, more concerted efforts are needed to ensure that all women treated complete ToC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajo.13115DOI Listing
June 2020

Monitoring human papillomavirus prevalence among young Australian women undergoing routine chlamydia screening.

Vaccine 2020 01 22;38(5):1186-1193. Epub 2019 Nov 22.

Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

Introduction: Australia has recently implemented major changes in cervical cancer prevention policies including introduction of primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening starting at age 25, and replacement of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine with the nonavalent vaccine in the national school-based program. We assessed the feasibility and utility of conducting HPV testing in residual clinical specimens submitted for routine Chlamydia trachomatis screening, as a means of tracking HPV vaccine program impact among young sexually active women.

Methods: De-identified residual specimens from women aged 16-24 years submitted for chlamydia testing were collected from three pathology laboratories in Victoria and New South Wales. Limited demographic information, and chlamydia test results were also collected. Patient identifiers were sent directly from the laboratories to the National HPV Vaccination Program Register, to obtain HPV vaccination histories. Samples underwent HPV genotyping using Seegene Anyplex II HPV 28 assay.

Results: Between April and July 2018, 362 residual samples were collected, the majority (60.2%) of which were cervical swabs. Demographic data and vaccination histories were received for 357 (98.6%) women (mean age 21.8, SD 2.0). Overall, 65.6% of women were fully vaccinated, 9.8% partially, and 24.7% unvaccinated. The majority (86.0%) resided in a major city, 35.9% were classified in the upper quintile of socioeconomic advantage and chlamydia positivity was 7.8%.The prevalence of quadrivalent vaccine-targeted types (HPV6/11/16/18) was 2.8% (1.5-5.1%) overall with no differences by vaccination status (p = 0.729). The prevalence of additional nonavalent vaccine-targeted types (HPV31/33/45/52/58) was 19.3% (15.6-23.8%). One or more oncogenic HPV types were detected in 46.8% (95% CI 41.6-52.0%) of women.

Conclusions: HPV testing of residual chlamydia specimens provides a simple, feasible method for monitoring circulating genotypes. Applied on a larger scale this method can be utilised to obtain a timely assessment of nonavalent vaccine impact among young women not yet eligible for cervical screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.11.019DOI Listing
January 2020

Impact of HPV vaccination: Achievements and future challenges.

Papillomavirus Res 2019 06 9;7:138-140. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

VCS Foundation, PO Box 310, East Melbourne, VIC, 8002, Australia. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pvr.2019.04.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465571PMC
June 2019

The remarkable impact of bivalent HPV vaccine in Scotland.

BMJ 2019 04 3;365:l1375. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

VCS Population Health, VCS Foundation, East Melbourne, VIC 8002, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1375DOI Listing
April 2019

Pathways to a cancer-free future: A protocol for modelled evaluations to maximize the future impact of interventions on cervical cancer in Australia.

Gynecol Oncol 2019 03;152(3):465-471

Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia; School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia; Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Objective: Australia's HPV vaccination and HPV-based cervical screening programs are changing the landscape in cervical cancer prevention. We aim to identify areas which can make the biggest further impact on cervical cancer burden. This protocol describes the first stage of a program of work called Pathways-Cervix that aims to generate evidence from modelled evaluations of interventions across the cervical cancer spectrum.

Methods: Based on evidence from literature reviews and guidance from a multi-disciplinary Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), the most relevant evaluations for prevention, diagnosis and treatment were identified.

Results: Priority evaluations agreed by the SAC included: increasing/decreasing and retaining vaccination uptake at the current level; vaccinating older women; increasing screening participation; methods for triaging HPV-positive women; improving the diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cancer; treating cervical abnormalities and cancer; and vaccinating women treated for CIN2/3 to prevent recurrence. Evaluations will be performed using a simulation model, Policy1-Cervix previously used to perform policy evaluations in Australia. Exploratory modelling of interventions using idealised scenarios will initially be conducted in single birth cohorts. If these have a significant impact on findings then evaluations with more realistic assumptions will be conducted. Promising strategies will be investigated further by multi-cohort simulations predicting health outcomes, resource use and cost outcomes.

Conclusions: Pathways-Cervix will assess the relative benefits of strategies and treatment options in a systematic and health economic framework, producing a list of 'best buys' for future decision-making in cervical cancer control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2018.12.019DOI Listing
March 2019

Cancer elimination thresholds: one size does not fit all - Authors' reply.

Lancet Public Health 2019 02;4(2):e87

Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, NSW 2011, Australia; School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30258-5DOI Listing
February 2019

Is the positive predictive value of high-grade cytology in predicting high-grade cervical disease falling due to HPV vaccination?

Int J Cancer 2019 06 11;144(12):2964-2971. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

VCS Population Health, VCS Foundation, East Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

A fall in the positive predictive value (PPV) of cytological predictions of high-grade squamous intra-epithelial lesions (HSIL) or adenocarcinoma-in-situ (AIS) has been predicted in the post-HPV vaccination era due to the decrease in underlying prevalence of cervical lesions. Data was extracted from the Victorian Cervical Screening Registry including cervical cytology tests taken between 2000 and 2016 and any subsequent histology performed within 6 months of the cytology. PPV was calculated for each age group (<20, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+ years) and calendar year. The x2 (chi-square) test was used to identify significant trends in PPV over time in each age group in both the pre-vaccination (2000-2006) and the post-vaccination (2007-2016) periods. The overall PPV of HSIL/AIS cytology in predicting histologically confirmed high grade disease (HGD, HSIL/AIS+) was 75% and this was consistent across the different calendar years. When stratified by age group, there was a decreasing trend in the PPV in women aged <20 years (p = 0.0006) and 20-24 years (p = 0.0004) in the post-vaccination period but not in the pre-vaccination period (p = 0.82 and p = 0.73, respectively). No such decline in PPV was noted in either the pre-vaccination or the post-vaccination periods for any other age groups except the oldest women, aged 60-69 years and 70+ years. The decline in PPV of HSIL/AIS cytology in predicting HGD in age groups <20 and 20-24 years in the post-vaccination period could be an impact of the HPV vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32050DOI Listing
June 2019

Clinical Validation of the cobas HPV Test on the cobas 6800 System for the Purpose of Cervical Screening.

J Clin Microbiol 2019 02 30;57(2). Epub 2019 Jan 30.

VCS Foundation, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia

This study demonstrates that the clinical sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of the novel cobas human papillomavirus (HPV) test on the cobas 6800 system for high-risk HPV types fulfills the criteria for use in population-based cervical screening. The criteria were formulated by an international consortium, using the cobas 4800 HPV test as a validated reference assay. The cobas HPV test detected over 98% of histologically confirmed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN2+) lesions in women age 30 years or older, with a specificity of 98.9% compared with the reference cobas 4800 test. Both the intra- and interlaboratory agreement for the cobas HPV test were 98%. The clinical performance of the cobas HPV test is comparable to those of longitudinally validated HPV assays and fulfills the criteria for its use in primary cervical screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01239-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6355513PMC
February 2019

Decline in prevalence of human papillomavirus infection following vaccination among Australian Indigenous women, a population at higher risk of cervical cancer: The VIP-I study.

Vaccine 2018 07 5;36(29):4311-4316. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Wallace Wurth Building, High St, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.

Background: Cervical cancer occurrence and mortality are strongly correlated with socioeconomic disadvantage, largely due to unequal access to screening and treatment. Universal human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination provides the opportunity to greatly reduce this global health disparity. Australian Indigenous women have substantially higher rates of cervical cancer than non-Indigenous women, primarily due to under-screening. We investigated HPV infection rates in Indigenous women 7 years after implementation of the national HPV vaccination program.

Methods: We used a repeat cross-sectional design, with the baseline being provided by an HPV prevalence survey among Indigenous women attending clinics for cervical cytology screening, prior to the start of the vaccination program in 2007. We returned to clinics in four locations during 2014-15, and invited women aged 18-26 years attending for screening to provide a cervical specimen for HPV testing, as well as to complete a short questionnaire and consent to allow access of their records in the National HPV Vaccination Program Register. We used well-established laboratory methods to test specimens for specific HPV genotypes.

Results: A total of 142 women were recruited at participating sites and compared to 155 who had been recruited at the same locations in the 2007 pre-vaccine survey. The two groups were identical in regard to age, with the more recent group having a higher proportion of hormonal contraception users, and a lower proportion of smokers. The proportion found to have any HPV type fell from 58 to 36% with the decline being entirely due to reductions in vaccine types, which fell by 94% from 24 to 1.4%.

Conclusion: Australia's national HPV vaccination program appears to be successfully protecting a very high proportion of Indigenous women against vaccine targeted HPV types, who have in the past been at elevated risk of cervical cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.05.104DOI Listing
July 2018

Comorbidity and cervical cancer survival of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women: A semi-national registry-based cohort study (2003-2012).

PLoS One 2018 8;13(5):e0196764. Epub 2018 May 8.

Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory, Australia.

Background: Little is known about the impact of comorbidity on cervical cancer survival in Australian women, including whether Indigenous women's higher prevalence of comorbidity contributes to their lower survival compared to non-Indigenous women.

Methods: Data for cervical cancers diagnosed in 2003-2012 were extracted from six Australian state-based cancer registries and linked to hospital inpatient records to identify comorbidity diagnoses. Five-year cause-specific and all-cause survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Flexible parametric models were used to estimate excess cause-specific mortality by Charlson comorbidity index score (0,1,2+), for Indigenous women compared to non-Indigenous women.

Results: Of 4,467 women, Indigenous women (4.4%) compared to non-Indigenous women had more comorbidity at diagnosis (score ≥1: 24.2% vs. 10.0%) and lower five-year cause-specific survival (60.2% vs. 76.6%). Comorbidity was associated with increased cervical cancer mortality for non-Indigenous women, but there was no evidence of such a relationship for Indigenous women. There was an 18% reduction in the Indigenous: non-Indigenous hazard ratio (excess mortality) when comorbidity was included in the model, yet this reduction was not statistically significant. The excess mortality for Indigenous women was only evident among those without comorbidity (Indigenous: non-Indigenous HR 2.5, 95%CI 1.9-3.4), indicating that factors other than those measured in this study are contributing to the differential. In a subgroup of New South Wales women, comorbidity was associated with advanced-stage cancer, which in turn was associated with elevated cervical cancer mortality.

Conclusions: Survival was lowest for women with comorbidity. However, there wasn't a clear comorbidity-survival gradient for Indigenous women. Further investigation of potential drivers of the cervical cancer survival differentials is warranted.

Impact: The results highlight the need for cancer care guidelines and multidisciplinary care that can meet the needs of complex patients. Also, primary and acute care services may need to pay more attention to Indigenous Australian women who may not obviously need it (i.e. those without comorbidity).
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196764PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5940188PMC
August 2018
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