The incidence, clearance and persistence of non-cervical human papillomavirus infections: a systematic review of the literature

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines were designed to prevent cervical cancer in women and their provision remains a major public health need. However, HPV is also a major cause of non-cervical anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers and the potential benefit of vaccination likely extends beyond cervical cancer.

A systematic literature search of PubMed (1995-2014) identified publications assessing the incidence, persistence, and clearance of non-cervical anogenital/oral HPV infections. Comparability with cervical HPV was assessed by identifying articles assessing the same or similar populations.

Available data suggest high incidence rates of non-cervical HPV infection in men and women, with HPV-16 predominating in all sites. The incidence of high risk HPV per 100 person-years ranged from 11.4 to 72.9 for penile infections, 6.7-47.9 at other male genital sites, and 4.4-36.7 and 5.3-23.4 for anal infections in men and women, respectively. The incidence per 100 person-years of oral infection with any HPV type ranged from 5.7 to 6.7 in men and 6.8-39.6 in women. Within the limitations of the data, there was a general pattern of higher incidence and clearance of non-cervical genital HPV infections, compared to cervical infections. HIV status, circumcision, number of sex partners and partner HPV status significantly influenced high-risk HPV incidence/clearance at male anogenital sites. Few studies assessed risk factors for oral HPV.

Parallels appear to exist between the epidemiology of cervical and non-cervical HPV infections in terms of incidence, HPV-type distribution, and risk factors for infection. Available data suggest that non-cervical genital HPV infections may occur more frequently, with higher clearance rates, than cervical infections. More extensive studies could provide useful information for estimating vaccine impact, the wider cost-benefit of HPV vaccination, and guiding vaccination policy.

Not applicable, as systematic review of the literature.

BMC infectious diseases. 2016 Jun 14*** epublish ***

Sylvia Taylor, Eveline Bunge, Marina Bakker, Xavier Castellsagué

GSK Vaccines, 20, Avenue Fleming, Parc de la Noire Epine, B-1300, Wavre, Belgium. ., Pallas Health Research and Consultancy BV, Rotterdam, The Netherlands., Pallas Health Research and Consultancy BV, Rotterdam, The Netherlands., Cancer Epidemiology Research Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Catalonia, Spain.