High-risk HPV detection in specimens collected in SurePath preservative fluid: comparison of ambient and refrigerated storage

A. Hardie, C. Moore, J. Patnick, Kate Cuschieri, Cat Graham, C. Beadling, K. Ellis, V. Frew, H. A. Cubie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



With moves to introduce human papillomavirus (HPV) triage at sentinel sites in England, it is essential that optimal storage and transport conditions are determined for efficient HPV detection using residual liquid-based cytology specimens.


Two cytology laboratories with comparable workloads sent residual cervical cytology specimens collected in BD Surepath (TM) Preservative Fluid to the Specialist Virology Centre for HPV testing. Storage and transport of specimens was at ambient (site A) or refrigerated (site R) temperatures. The effect of temperature on the ability to detect high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) using Digene Hybrid Capture((R)) 2 High-Risk HPV DNA Test (hc2) and Roche AMPLICOR((R)) HPV Test (AMPLICOR) was assessed. All specimens with discordant results were tested using Roche Linear Array HPV Genotyping test.


A total of 796 residual cytology specimens, with cytology ranging from normal to severe dyskaryosis, were provided (399 from site A and 397 from site R). Ambient storage and transit of cervical specimens in SurePath medium did not appear to affect significantly the suitability of the specimen for HPV testing, as measured by the concordance of the HR-HPV screening assays for ambient versus refrigerated specimens and by the proportion of specimens which tested invalid.


Residual cytology specimens in SurePath medium, stored and transported at ambient temperature, appear suitable for HR-HPV detection by AMPLICOR beyond the manufacturer's recommended time and potentially up to four weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • cervical cytology
  • LBC
  • SurePath fluid
  • HPV detection


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