Background: Knowledge of the prevalence of type-specific human papillomavirus (HPV) infections is necessary to predict the expected, and to monitor the actual, impact of HPV immunisation and to design effective screening strategies for vaccinated populations.
Methods: Residual specimens of cervical cytology (N=4719), CIN3/CGIN and cervical cancer biopsies (N=1515) were obtained from sites throughout England, anonymised and tested for HPV DNA using the Linear Array typing system (Roche).
Results: The prevalence of HPV 16 and/or 18 (with or without another high-risk (HR) type) was 76% in squamous cell carcinomas, 82% in adeno/adenosquamous carcinomas and 63% and 91% in CIN3 and CGIN, respectively. Of all HR HPV-infected women undergoing cytology, non-vaccine HPV types only were found in over 60% of those with mild dyskaryosis or below, and in <20% of those with cancer. In women of all ages undergoing screening, HR HPV prevalence was 16% and HPV 16 and/or 18 prevalence was 5%.
Conclusion: Pre-immunisation, high-grade cervical disease in England was predominantly associated with HPV 16 and/or 18, which promises a high impact from HPV immunisation in due course. Second-generation vaccines and screening strategies need to consider the best ways to detect and prevent disease due to the remaining HR HPV types.