Worldwide burden of cancer attributable to HPV by site, country and HPV type

Int J Cancer. 2017 Aug 15;141(4):664-670. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30716. Epub 2017 Jun 8.


HPV is the cause of almost all cervical cancer and is responsible for a substantial fraction of other anogenital cancers and oropharyngeal cancers. Understanding the HPV-attributable cancer burden can boost programs of HPV vaccination and HPV-based cervical screening. Attributable fractions (AFs) and the relative contributions of different HPV types were derived from published studies reporting on the prevalence of transforming HPV infection in cancer tissue. Maps of age-standardized incidence rates of HPV-attributable cancers by country from GLOBOCAN 2012 data are shown separately for the cervix, other anogenital tract and head and neck cancers. The relative contribution of HPV16/18 and HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58 was also estimated. 4.5% of all cancers worldwide (630,000 new cancer cases per year) are attributable to HPV: 8.6% in women and 0.8% in men. AF in women ranges from <3% in Australia/New Zealand and the USA to >20% in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Cervix accounts for 83% of HPV-attributable cancer, two-thirds of which occur in less developed countries. Other HPV-attributable anogenital cancer includes 8,500 vulva; 12,000 vagina; 35,000 anus (half occurring in men) and 13,000 penis. In the head and neck, HPV-attributable cancers represent 38,000 cases of which 21,000 are oropharyngeal cancers occurring in more developed countries. The relative contributions of HPV16/18 and HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58 are 73% and 90%, respectively. Universal access to vaccination is the key to avoiding most cases of HPV-attributable cancer. The preponderant burden of HPV16/18 and the possibility of cross-protection emphasize the importance of the introduction of more affordable vaccines in less developed countries.

Keywords: attributable fraction; cancer; human papillomavirus; prevention; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Anus Neoplasms / virology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / isolation & purification*
  • Human papillomavirus 18 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Penile Neoplasms / virology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Characteristics
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*