TUESDAY, Oct. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV)-positive cervical tumors have a substantially better prognosis than women with hrHPV-negative tumors, according to a study published online Oct. 1 in PLOS Medicine.

Jiayao Lei, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues performed a nationwide population-based cohort study in which they identified all cases of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) diagnosed in Sweden from 2002 to 2011 (4,254 confirmed cases). HPV genotyping was performed on available archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks (2,845 confirmed cases with valid HPV results). The association between tumor hrHPV status and ICC prognosis was examined.

The researchers found that hrHPV was detected in 80.6 percent of the 2,845 included cases. During an average of 6.2 years of follow-up, there were 1,131 (39.8 percent) deaths. There was a significant association between hrHPV positivity and screen-detected tumors, young age, high education level, and early stage at diagnosis. Compared with the general female population, the five-year relative survival ratio was 0.74 for hrHPV-positive cases and 0.54 for hrHPV-negative cases, yielding a crude excess hazard ratio (EHR) of 0.45 and an adjusted EHR of 0.61. This association was consistently significantly lower for cases with hrHPV-positive tumors for each age group older than 29 years and each Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage greater than IA.

“hrHPV appears to be a biomarker for better prognosis in cervical cancer independent of age, FIGO stage, and histological type, extending information from already established prognostic factors,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries.

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