Detection of High Risk Human Papillomavirus

The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Fuente: The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.
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Supported by The Pfizer/Society of Women's Health Research Scholars Grants for Faculty Development in Women's Health

OBJECTIVE:
  • Despite the fact that women over 65 bear a higher cancer burden, little is known about the characteristics of again women with HPV infection. Our hypothesis is that HPV infection in aging women is not associated with the socio-demographic risk factors for HPV infection identified in younger populations. Our objective is to identify the prevalence of HPV infection in a cohort of aging women and to analyze their social profile.

METHODS:
  • A prospective cohort study of 63 women over age 55 recruited from the Center on Aging Volunteer Registry. After obtaining informed consent (IRB#02-268), volunteers completed a detailed medical and social history form and underwent a pelvic exam that included a liquid-based Cervical sample, and VPH test (Hybrid Capture II, Digene, Beltsville, Md). Wilcoxon 2-sample test and Fisher's exact test were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: Twenty one percent of the 63 volunteers age 55 to 86 were HPV DNA positive for high or intermediate risk genotypes. Seventy five percent of the HPV positive subjects had a normal pap smear. Forty four percent of the women who tested positive for this sexually transmitted virus reported no sexual activity for over 5 years. There was no difference between the HPV positive and negative women with respect to the traditional social risk factors for cervical neoplasia including age of first coitus < 16 years, number of sexual partners, and tobacco use.

CONCLUSION:
  • High risk HPV infection is not restricted to young women. In this limited sample of ageing women, we found no clear social markers of risk of HPV infection. A longitudinal study is required to identify aging women at high risk of persistent HPV disease. However, "low risk" may be more difficult to establish in this age group, suggesting that older women should continue to be considered "at risk" and receive cervical cancer screening unless they have tested persistently negative for HPV infection.

Key Words:
  • HPV, cervical neoplasia, aging.