Association between Human Papillomavirus and Human T-Lymphotropic Virus in Indigenous Women from the Peruvian Amazon

No association between the Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV), an oncogenic virus that alters host immunity, and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has previously been reported. Examining the association between these two viruses may permit the identification of a population at increased risk for developing cervical cancer.

Between July 2010 and February 2011, Authors conducted a cross-sectional study among indigenous Amazonian Peruvian women from the Shipibo-Konibo ethnic group, a group with endemic HTLV infection. Reserchers recruited women between 15 and 39 years of age who were living in the cities of Lima and Ucayali. Researcher's objectives were to determine the association between HTLV and: (i) HPV infection of any type, and (ii) high-risk HPV type infection. Sexually active Shipibo-Konibo women were screened for HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 infections. All HTLV-1 or -2 positive women, along with two community-matched HTLV negative sexually active Shipibo-Konibo controls were later tested for the presence of HPV DNA, conventional cytology, and HIV. Researchers screened 1,253 Shipibo-Konibo women, observing a prevalence of 5.9% (n = 74) for HTLV-1 and 3.8% (n = 47) for HTLV-2 infections. Researchers enrolled 62 (60.8%) HTLV-1 positive women, 40 (39.2%) HTLV-2 positive women, and 205 community-matched HTLV negative controls. HTLV-1 infection was strongly associated with HPV infection of any type (43.6% vs. 29.3%; Prevalence Ratio (PR): 2.10, 95% CI: 1.53–2.87), and with high-risk HPV infection (32.3% vs. 22.4%; PR: 1.93, 95% CI: 1.04–3.59). HTLV-2 was not significantly associated with either of these HPV infections.

HTLV-1 infection was associated with HPV infection of any type and with high-risk HPV infection. Future longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the incidence of high-risk HPV infection as well as the incidence of cervical neoplasia among HTLV-1 positive women.

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