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Infect Agent Cancer. 2011 Nov 14;6(1):20. doi: 10.1186/1750-9378-6-20.

Distribution of HPV genotypes in cervical intraepithelial lesions and cervical cancer in Tanzanian women.

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  • 1Department of Community and Family Medicine, and Program of Cancer Detection, Prevention and Control, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA.



Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with uterine cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and invasive cancers (ICC). Approximately 80% of ICC cases are diagnosed in under-developed countries. Vaccine development relies on knowledge of HPV genotypes characteristic of LSIL, HSIL and cancer; however, these genotypes remain poorly characterized in many African countries. To contribute to the characterization of HPV genotypes in Northeastern Tanzania, we recruited 215 women from the Reproductive Health Clinic at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. Cervical scrapes and biopsies were obtained for cytology and HPV DNA detection.


79 out of 215 (36.7%) enrolled participants tested positive for HPV DNA, with a large proportion being multiple infections (74%). The prevalence of HPV infection increased with lesion grade (14% in controls, 67% in CIN1 cases and 88% in CIN2-3). Among ICC cases, 89% had detectable HPV. Overall, 31 HPV genotypes were detected; the three most common HPV genotypes among ICC were HPV16, 35 and 45. In addition to these genotypes, co-infection with HPV18, 31, 33, 52, 58, 68 and 82 was found in 91% of ICC. Among women with CIN2-3, HPV53, 58 and 84/83 were the most common. HPV35, 45, 53/58/59 were the most common among CIN1 cases.


In women with no evidence of cytological abnormalities, the most prevalent genotypes were HPV58 with HPV16, 35, 52, 66 and 73 occurring equally. Although numerical constraints limit inference, findings that 91% of ICC harbor only a small number of HPV genotypes suggests that prevention efforts including vaccine development or adjuvant screening should focus on these genotypes.

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