NATIONAL HARBOR, M.D. Two subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) prevented by vaccines are half as likely to be found in African-American women as in white women with precancerous cervical lesions, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
The findings, presented on Oct. 28, 2013, at the 12th annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research hosted by the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that African-American women may be less likely to benefit from available HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 subtypes. The virus causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which begin as precancerous cervical abnormalities. Two vaccines currently available to young women prevent infection by HPV 16 and HPV 18, the HPV strains responsible for about 70 percent cervical cancers.
"Screening programs for cervical cancer are known to work well, with around 90 percent of sexually active women getting screened through Pap tests," said senior author Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine.
"The question is, if screening rates are comparable in African-American and white women, why are the rates of cervical cancer and mortality higher among African-American women when we have a program that works so well?"
Hoyo and her colleagues sought to better understand these disparities by determining if African-American and white women in the U.S. are infected with the same subtypes of HPV. The researchers enrolled 572 participants -- 280 African-American women and 292 non-Hispanic white women -- who came for additional testing after receiving abnormal Pap test results.
Of the 572 participants, 245 (43 percent) had no precancerous cervical abnormalities, 239 (42 percent) had early precancerous cervical abnormalities, and 88 (15 percent) had advanced prec
|Contact: Rachel Harrison|
Duke University Medical Center