Human Papillomavirus (HPV) genotype distribution and co-infection occurrence was studied in cervical cytologic specimens from Murcia Region, (southeast Spain), to obtain information regarding the possible effect of the ongoing vaccination campaign against HPV16 and HPV18.
A total of 458 cytologic specimens were obtained from two outpatient gynecological clinics. These included 288 normal benign (N/B) specimens, 56 atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance (ASC-US), 75 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) and 39 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). HPV genotyping was performed using PCR and tube array hybridization.
The most frequent genotype found was HPV16 (14.9% in N/B; 17.9% in ASC-US; 29.3% in LSIL and 33.3% HSIL). Distribution of other genotypes was heavily dependent on the cytologic diagnoses. Co-infections were found in 15.3% of N/B, 10.7% of ASC-US, 48% of LSIL and 25.6% of HSIL cases (significantly different at p < 0.001). Strikingly, in N/B diagnoses, genotypes from A5 species were found as coinfecting in all cases. Genotypes from A7 or A9 species appeared in co-infections in 56.5% and 54% respectively whereas genotypes from A6 species appeared in 25.1% of cases.
HPV vaccination might prevent 34.6% and 35.8% of LSIL and HSIL, respectively. Co-infection rate is dependent on both cytologic diagnosis and HPV genotype. Moreover, genotypes belonging to A5, A7 and A9 species are more often found as co-infections than genotype pertaining to A6 species. This suggests that phylogenetically related genotypes might have in common similar grades of dependency for cervical epithelium colonization.