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Open Access Research article

HIV serostatus and tumor differentiation among patients with cervical cancer at Bugando Medical Centre

Dismas Matovelo1*, Moke Magoma1, Peter Rambau2, Anthony Massinde1 and Nestory Masalu3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Bugando Medical Centre, P.O. Box 1370, Mwanza, Tanzania

2 Department of Pathology, Catholic University of health and allied sciences, P.O. Box 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania

3 Department of Oncology, Bugando Medical Centre, P.O. Box 1370, Mwanza, Tanzania

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:406  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-406

Published: 4 August 2012



Evidence for the association between Human immunodeficiency virus infection and cervical cancer has been contrasting, with some studies reporting increased risk of cervical cancer among HIV positive women while others report no association. Similar evidence from Tanzania is scarce as HIV seroprevalence among cervical cancer patients has not been rigorously evaluated. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between HIV and tumor differentiation among patients with cervical cancer at Bugando Medical Centre and Teaching Hospital in Mwanza, North-Western Tanzania.


This was a descriptive analytical study involving suspected cervical cancer patients seen at the gynaecology outpatient clinic and in the gynaecological ward from November 2010 to March 2011.


A total of 91 suspected cervical cancer patients were seen during the study period and 74 patients were histologically confirmed with cervical cancer. The mean age of those confirmed of cervical cancer was 50.5 ± 12.5 years. Most patients (39 of the total 74–52.7%) were in early disease stages (stages IA-IIA). HIV infection was diagnosed in 22 (29.7%) patients. On average, HIV positive women with early cervical cancer disease had significantly more CD4+ cells than those with advanced disease (385.8 ± 170.4 95% CI 354.8-516.7 and 266.2 ± 87.5, 95% CI 213.3-319.0 respectively p = 0.042). In a binary logistic regression model, factors associated with HIV seropositivity were ever use of hormonal contraception (OR 5.79 95% CI 1.99-16.83 p = 0.001), aged over 50 years (OR 0.09 95% CI 0.02-0.36 p = 0.001), previous history of STI (OR 3.43 95% CI 1.10-10.80 p = 0.035) and multiple sexual partners OR 5.56 95% CI 1.18-26.25 p = 0.030). Of these factors, only ever use of hormonal contraception was associated with tumor cell differentiation (OR 0.16 95% CI 0.06-0.49 p = 0.001). HIV seropositivity was weakly associated with tumor cell differentiation in an unadjusted analysis (OR 0.21 95% CI 0.04-1.02 p = 0.053), but strong evidence for the association was found after adjusting for ever use of hormonal contraception with approximately six times more likelihood of HIV infection among women with poorly differentiated tumor cells compared to those with moderately and well differentiated cells (OR 5.62 95% CI 1.76-17.94 p = 0.004).


Results from this study setting suggest that HIV is common among cervical cancer patients and that HIV seropositivity may be associated with poor tumour differentiation. Larger studies in this and similar settings with high HIV prevalence and high burden of cervical cancer are required to document this relationship.

HIV; Cervical cancer; Clinical stage; Tumor differentiation; Tanzania