Human papillomavirus subtype 16 is common in Pakistani women with cervical carcinoma

Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology


Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is recognized as a major causative agent for cervical carcinomas. Based on their oncogenic potential, HPV subtypes have been divided into high- and low-risk. In Pakistan, screening for HPV in female patients is not commonly practiced, and as a consequence, the degree of HPV prevalence and its correlation with cervical cancer is unknown.

Objective: In this study, we have attempted to estimate the prevalence of HPV infection, and also the HPV subtype profile, among Pakistani women with cervical cancer from varied geographical, racial, and social backgrounds within Pakistan.

Methodology: Women visiting two tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, diagnosed with carcinoma of the cervix within the past 15 years, were analyzed for HPV subtypes in their cancer specimens. Retrospectively, 60 paraffin-embedded cervical cancer biopsies were examined for the presence of HPV DNA. After DNA extraction from these samples, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify the HPV L1 gene using the consensus (general) primers, and primers specific for subtypes 16 and 18.

Results: Of the 60 samples analyzed, only one sample was HPV negative; the rest of the samples were positive for the presence of HPV. Of the 59 HPV positive samples, 56 showed the presence of HPV16 and one sample was positive for HPV18; HPV subtype could not be determined in two samples.

Conclusion: Our results show a strong relationship between HPV infection and cervical cancer among Pakistani women. These results underscore the need to implement regular HPV screening for Pakistani women. An early diagnosis of HPV infection will allow better health management to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Infectious Diseases