Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing on self-samples represents a great opportunity to increase cervical cancer screening uptake among under-screened women.
A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were performed to update the evidence on the efficacy of strategies for offering self-sampling kits for HPV testing compared to conventional invitations and to compare different self-sampling invitation scenarios. Four experimental invitational scenarios were considered. Women in the control group were invited for screening according to existing practice: collection of a cervical specimen by a healthcare professional. Random-effects models were used to pool proportions, relative participation rates and absolute participation differences.
Thirty-three trials were included. In the intention-to-treat analysis, all self-sampling invitation scenarios were more effective in reaching under-screened women compared to controls. Pooled participation difference (PD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for experimental vs. control was 13.2% (95% CI = 11.0–15.3%) for mail-to-all, 4.4% (95% CI = 1.2–7.6%) for opt-in, 39.1% (95% CI = 8.4–69.9%) for community mobilisation & outreach and 28.1% (23.5–32.7%) for offer at healthcare service. PD for the comparison opt-in vs. mail-to-all, assessed in nine trials, was −8.2% (95% CI = −10.8 to −5.7%).
Overall, screening participation was higher among women invited for self-sampling compared to control, regardless of the invitation strategy used. Opt-in strategies were less effective than send-to-all strategies.