Aim: To determine the prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) deoxyribonucleic acid in cervical cancer specimens in Calabar, Nigeria.

Study Design: This is a retrospective prevalence, a cross-sectional study on archival cervical cancer specimens.

Place and Duration of Study: This study was done at the department of pathology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, on cervical cancer specimens between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2014.

Methodology: Paraffin-embedded tissue block of all the invasive cervical cancer specimen received during the study period were collected. Basic socio-demographic data were obtained from the medical records. Sections of the tissue were obtained from the blocks, digested using proteinase K solution and the DNA was extracted. A polymerase chain reaction and DNA enzyme immunoassay (DEIA) was done. The results of the DNA enzyme immunoassay were read, and the samples were categorized as HPV DNA positive or negative.

Results: One hundred and twenty-three cervical cancer specimens were analysed. There were one hundred and ninety-six gynaecological malignancy specimens received during the study period, giving an invasive cervical cancer prevalence of 62.7% among the gynaecological malignancies in the centre. The samples were from female subjects aged from 32 to 75 years. Their mean age was 48.6 ± 10.6 (years). A majority (86) which made up 69.9% of the subjects was below 51 years. The peak age group of the disease among the subjects is 42 – 51 years. One hundred and thirteen (91.90%) of these samples were HPV DNA positive while ten (8.10%) of the samples were HPV DNA negative. The prevalence of HPV DNA in the samples by age group distribution shows the highest prevalence of 38.6% from the 42-51 years age group followed by those in a 31 – 40 years age group (33.3%), 61 – 70 years (16.7%),  51 – 60 years (10.5%) and the age group with the lowest prevalence is >70 years (1.6%).

Conclusion: There is a need for the precise pattern of HPV DNA prevalence in cervical cancer in every part of the world to be established. The fill of this knowledge gap would help in enhancing the development of strategies targeted at the elimination of cervical cancer globally.

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