Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been firmly established as a central and necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer and it has been etiologically linked to other anogenital (vulva, vagina, anus and penis) and head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal. Although being rare, the incidence of some of these cancers in some countries has increased in the last decades. HPV-related anogenital tumors share many risk factors with cervical cancer. The HPV aetiological contribution differs in each anatomical location reflecting differences in the natural history and viral tissue tropism. The highest prevalence of HPV DNA in cancers other than cervix has been described for anal, followed by vagina, penile and vulvar cancers. HPV16 has been described as the most common type detected in all cancer sites with different contributions being the highest in anal carcinoma (around 80% of HPV DNA positive anal cancers) and the lowest in vaginal cancers with a contribution similar to that found in cervical cancers (around 60%). Current HPV vaccines have already demonstrated their efficacy in preventing anogenital pre-neoplastic lesions caused by vaccine HPV types. HPV-based prevention tools like HPV vaccination and to a lesser extend screening (e.g. for anal cancer) can be useful measures for reducing the burden of these anogenital cancers.
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