Burden of Human papillomavirus (HPV)-related disease and potential impact of HPV vaccines in the Republic of Korea

Papillomavirus Res. 2019 Jun:7:26-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pvr.2018.12.002. Epub 2018 Dec 30.


Background: We aimed to review the burden and the potential impact of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines on HPV-related diseases in the Republic of Korea and to discuss cervical cancer prevention practices in this country.

Methods: Cancer burden statistics were retrieved from GLOBOCAN-2018 and Statistics Korea. HPV disease burden was assessed via systematic review. Vaccine types relative contribution (RC) was estimated using data from an international project using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens.

Results: Despite a downtrend in cervical cancer in recent years, Korean rates remain high. In contrast, oropharyngeal cancer incidence has gradually increased and other anogenital cancers remain rare. In Korea, HPV prevalence in general population is around 20%. In cervical cancer, RC of HPVs 16/18 (74.0%) increased to 92.0% when including HPVs 31/33/45/52/58. Limited information was available for other HPV-related cancer sites. Regarding prevention, since the inclusion of the HPV vaccine into the National Immunization Program, almost half (49%) of the target cohort in 2016 had received the first dose of vaccine. Further, percentage of women screened with pap has increased from 41.1%-2009 to 53.0%-2016.

Conclusions: HPV-related disease burden in Korea is significant. Results suggest that the combination of effective and high coverage HPV vaccination and screening programmes could substantially impact on HPV-related disease in Korea.

Keywords: Burden; Cancer; Cervical cancer screening; Human papillomavirus; Papillomavirus vaccine; Republic of Korea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / classification*
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines