The incidence, clearance and persistence of non-cervical human papillomavirus infections: A systematic review of the literature


BACKGROUND: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines were designed to prevent cervical cancer in women and their provision remains a major public health need. However, HPV is also a major cause of non-cervical anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers and the potential benefit of vaccination likely extends beyond cervical cancer. METHODS: A systematic literature search of PubMed (1995-2014) identified publications assessing the incidence, persistence, and clearance of non-cervical anogenital/oral HPV infections. Comparability with cervical HPV was assessed by identifying articles assessing the same or similar populations. RESULTS: Available data suggest high incidence rates of non-cervical HPV infection in men and women, with HPV-16 predominating in all sites. The incidence of high risk HPV per 100 person-years ranged from 11.4 to 72.9 for penile infections, 6.7-47.9 at other male genital sites, and 4.4-36.7 and 5.3-23.4 for anal infections in men and women, respectively. The incidence per 100 person-years of oral infection with any HPV type ranged from 5.7 to 6.7 in men and 6.8-39.6 in women. Within the limitations of the data, there was a general pattern of higher incidence and clearance of non-cervical genital HPV infections, compared to cervical infections. HIV status, circumcision, number of sex partners and partner HPV status significantly influenced high-risk HPV incidence/clearance at male anogenital sites. Few studies assessed risk factors for oral HPV. CONCLUSIONS: Parallels appear to exist between the epidemiology of cervical and non-cervical HPV infections in terms of incidence, HPV-type distribution, and risk factors for infection. Available data suggest that non-cervical genital HPV infections may occur more frequently, with higher clearance rates, than cervical infections. More extensive studies could provide useful information for estimating vaccine impact, the wider cost-benefit of HPV vaccination, and guiding vaccination policy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not applicable, as systematic review of the literature


Taylor S, Bunge E, Bakker M, Castellsagué X.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions
  • Co-morbidities
    • Cancer


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