Pelvic inflammatory disease is a risk factor for cervical cancer

Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2003;24(5):401-4.


The acquisition of human papillomavirus (HPV), the most important etiological agent of cervical cancer, does not cause clinical complaints. Although HPV spreads together with agents causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with complaints forcing the patient to seek medical advice, PID has not yet been evaluated as a predictor of cervical cancer. The present study aimed to determine the relationship between PID and HPV in order to evaluate the possible risk factor role of PID for cervical cancer. Two groups of patients were studied: (i) 2,215 women with PID; (ii) 4,217 women participating in a cervical cancer screening programme who were found to have cytological atypia, mucopurulent cervicitis or other colposcopically detected disorders but were free of symptoms of PID. The presence of HPV and other STD agents in cervical smears was detected with polymerase-chain reaction. HPV prevalence was 33.74% in patients with PID and 26.40% in the group of women without PID (p < 0.001). This suggests that patients suffering from PID apparently have a higher risk of cervical cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / complications*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / microbiology
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology