Funded by the European Union
Department of Biotechnology Government of India

Results and publications

Project’s results and publications

PRESCRIP-TEC will publish the results and findings of the project on this section.

Artificial intelligence and visual inspection in cervical cancer screening

Visual inspection with acetic acid is limited by subjectivity and a lack of skilled human resource. A decision support system based on artificial intelligence could address these limitations. We conducted a diagnostic study to assess the diagnostic performance using visual inspection with acetic acid under magnification of healthcare workers, experts, and an artificial intelligence algorithm.

Methods: A total of 22 healthcare workers, 9 gynecologists/experts in visual inspection with acetic acid, and the algorithm assessed a set of 83 images from existing datasets with expert consensus as the reference. Their diagnostic performance was determined by analyzing sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve, and intra- and inter-observer agreement was measured using Fleiss kappa values.

Results: Sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve were, respectively, 80.4%, 80.5%, and 0.80 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.90) for the healthcare workers, 81.6%, 93.5%, and 0.93 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.00) for the experts, and 80.0%, 83.3%, and 0.84 (95% CI 0.75 to 0.93) for the algorithm. Kappa values for the healthcare workers, experts, and algorithm were 0.45, 0.68, and 0.63, respectively.

Conclusion: This study enabled simultaneous assessment and demonstrated that expert consensus can be an alternative to histopathology to establish a reference standard for further training of healthcare workers and the artificial intelligence algorithm to improve diagnostic accuracy.
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Investigating feasibility of 2021 WHO protocol for cervical cancer screening in underscreened populations: PREvention and SCReening Innovation Project Toward Elimination of Cervical Cancer

High-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing has been recommended by the World Health Organization as the primary screening test in cervical screening programs. The option of self sampling for this screening method can potentially increase women’s participation. Designing screening programs to implement this method among underscreened populations will require contextualized evidence.

Methods: PREvention and SCReening Innovation Project Toward Elimination of Cervical Cancer (PRESCRIP-TEC) will use a multi-method approach to investigate the feasibility of implementing a cervical cancer screening strategy with hrHPV self-testing as the primary screening test in Bangladesh, India, Slovak Republic and Uganda. The primary outcomes of study include uptake and coverage of the screening program and adherence to follow-up. These outcomes will be evaluated through a pre-post quasi-experimental study design. Secondary objectives of the study include the analysis of client-related factors and health system factors related to cervical cancer screening, a validation study of an artificial intelligence decision support system and an economic evaluation of the screening strategy.

Discussion: PRESCRIP-TEC aims to provide evidence regarding hrHPV self-testing and the World Health Organization’s recommendations for cervical cancer screening in a variety of settings, targeting vulnerable groups. The main quantitative findings of the project related to the impact on uptake and coverage of screening will be complemented by qualitative analyses of various determinants of successful implementation of screening. The study will also provide decision-makers with insights into economic aspects of implementing hrHPV self-testing, as well as evaluate the feasibility of using artificial intelligence for task-shifting in visual inspection with acetic acid..
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