Detection and concentration of plasma aflatoxin is associated with detection of oncogenic human papillomavirus in Kenyan women

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background; Cervical cancer is common in Kenyan women. Cofactors in addition to infection with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) are likely to be important in causing cervical cancer, because only a small percentage of HPV-infected women will develop this malignancy. Kenyan women are exposed to dietary aflatoxin, a potent carcinogen and immunosuppressive agent, which may be such a cofactor.

Methods; Demographics, behavioral data, plasma, and cervical swabs were collected from 88 human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected Kenyan women without cervical dysplasia. Human papillomavirus detection was compared between women with or without plasma aflatoxin B1-lysine (AFB1-lys) and evaluated in relation to AFB1-lys concentration.

Results Valid HPV testing results were available for 86 women (mean age 34.0 years); 49 women (57.0%) had AFB1-lys detected and 37 (43.0%) had none. The AFB1-lys detection was not associated with age, being married, having more than secondary school education, home ownership, living at a walking distance to healthcare ≥60 minutes, number of lifetime sex partners, or age of first sex. The AFB1-lys detection and plasma concentrations were associated with detection of oncogenic HPV types.

Conclusions The AFB1-lys positivity and higher plasma AFB1-lys concentrations were associated with higher risk of oncogenic HPV detection in cervical samples from Kenya women. Further studies are needed to determine whether aflatoxin interacts with HPV in a synergistic manner to increase the risk of cervical cancer.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Open forum infectious diseases

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.