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.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Oxford University Press