Epidemiological studies on the prevalence rates of genital HPV genotypes have shown that HPV16 and 18 induce about 70% of cervical cancers. Reliable baseline estimates of the prevalence of type specific cervical HPV infection in the general population are essential to assess the impact of vaccination on viral ecology and cervical lesions. This study focuses on the distribution of HR HPV among women in France with normal and pathologic cytology findings and the age specific prevalence rates.
Background: Knowledge of prevalence rates and distribution of human papillomavirus genotypes prior high HPV vaccine coverage is necessary to assess its expected impact on HPV ecology and on cervical lesions and cancers. Methods: Residual specimens of cervical cytology were obtained from 16 sites participating in organised cervical cancer screening pilot programs throughout France, anonymised and tested for HPV DNA using the PapilloCheck genotyping test. Samples were stratified according to age of women and cytological grades. Results: The age-standardised prevalence rates of HPV 16 and/or 18 was 47. 2% in high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions , 20. 2% in low-grade SIL and 3. 9% in normal cytology. Overall HR HPV were detected in 13. 7% of normal cytology. In women below 30 years of age, 64% of HSILs were associated with HPV16 and/or 18. In our study population, HPV16 was the most commonly detected type in all cervical grades with prevalence rates ranking from 3. 0% in normal cytology to 50. 9% in HSILs. HPV16 was also detected in 54% of invasive cervical cancers including 5 adenocarcinomas. Conclusion: HPV16 was strongly associated with cervical precancer and cancer. The high prevalence rates of HPV16/18 infection among women below 30 years of age with HSILs suggests that the impact of vaccination would be primarily observed among young women.