The usefulness of mouthwash as a transport medium for cervical specimens for carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing has not been evaluated. Two cervical specimens were collected from each of 34 patients, with one placed in mouthwash (Scope, Proctor and Gamble, Inc.) and the other in a liquid cytology medium commonly used for HPV DNA testing in alternating order. Paired specimens were tested by a PCR assay for carcinogenic HPV and a PCR HPV genotyping assay for 37 HPV types at 0, 3, and 6 weeks after collection; the results of the HPV genotyping assay were categorized into HPV risk groups according to cancer risk (HPV-16 > HPV-18 > other carcinogenic HPV types > noncarcinogenic HPV types > negative). After 4 months of storage, specimens were tested using a second, non-PCR test for carcinogenic HPV. We observed a ≥94% total agreement and κ values of ≥0.88 between media at each time point for PCR-detected carcinogenic HPV. We observed a ≥74% total agreement, ≥0.62 unweighted κ, and ≥0.75 linearly weighted κ between media at each time point for PCR-detected HPV cancer risk category. Finally, we observed an 88% total agreement and κ of 0.77 between media for carcinogenic HPV detection using a second test after 4 months of storage. We suggest that mouthwash might be used as a low-cost, safe, nonflammable storage and transport medium for cervical specimens for HPV DNA testing in cervical cancer screening programs.
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