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Open Access Research article

Prevalence of low-risk HPV types and genital warts in women born 1988/89 or 1983/84 -results of WOLVES, a population-based epidemiological study in Wolfsburg, Germany

Karl Ulrich Petry1*, Alexander Luyten1, Annika Justus2, Angelika Iftner3, Sarah Strehlke1, Renate Schulze-Rath4 and Thomas Iftner3

Author Affiliations

1 Klinikum Wolfsburg, Frauenklinik, Schwerpunkt gynäkologische Onkologie, Sauerbruchstr. 7, 38440, Wolfsburg, Germany

2 Conreso GmbH, Klinische Forschung, Neuhauser Straße 47, 80331, Munich, Germany

3 Institut für Virologie, Sektion experimentelle Virologie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, Elfriede Aulhorn Str. 6, 72076, Tübingen, Germany

4 Sanofi Pasteur MSD GmbH, Leimen, 69181, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:367  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-367

Published: 21 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Wolfsburg HPV Epidemiological Study (WOLVES) is a population-based cohort study on HPV infections and associated diseases in the pre-vaccination era in young women in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Methods

Women born 1983/84 or 1988/89 were invited to participate. Participants were recruited in gynecology practices, and completed a questionnaire with socioeconomic, sexual and medical data including vaccination status. Pelvic examination with Pap smear and HPV testing (HC2 = Hybrid Capture 2) was obligatory. HC2-positive and 10% of HC2-negative samples were tested for specific HPV types with SPF-10-PCR, and in inconclusive cases with DNA sequencing. Women with genital warts (GW) and those with atypical Pap smears were transferred for colposcopy. GWs were classified as typical condylomata acuminata (TCA), flat condyloma (FC) and seborrheic wart-like (SWL).

Results

In total, 1258 subjects were recruited from the target population of 2850 (44.1%). Overall the prevalence of HC2 low-risk (LR) types was 8.5%. HPV6 was the most frequent LR type (2.1%), followed by HPV42 (1.1%), HPV11 and HPV44 (each 0.4%). LiPA showed a low sensitivity for HPV types 42, 90 and 91, which were detected only by HC2 and HPV sequencing. Nine women (0.7%) were transferred with incident GW: five TCA, two FC and two SWL. All TCA were associated with HPV6 in corresponding cervical swabs and warts. Tissues of SWL contained HPV6 (n = 1) and HPV16 (n = 1). The cumulative life-risk for GW was 1.4% in the 1988/89 and 4.8% in the 1983/84 cohort. Eight of 107 HC2-LR + and five of nine cases of GW had concomitant abnormal Pap smears. All CIN lesions could be linked to high-risk HPV types but borderline and low-grade abnormal smears were explained by vaginal and cervical TCA in four cases.

Conclusions

HC2 was a specific test for the detection of established and potential LR types. In this first WOLVES analysis, HPV6 was the most frequent HPV type and the single LR type linked to disease. The observed GW incidence of 715 per 100,000 fits well with estimates of healthcare providers. Although life risks for GW were lower than in Scandinavian analyses, the societal burden within the WOLVES populations was considerable.