Detection of human papillomavirus in urine and cervical swabs from patients with invasive cervical cancer



Despite the high prevalence of both human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and cervical cancer among Zimbabwean women, the ability to test for HPV infection of the uterine cervix is limited by a lack of an easy sample collection method that does not require gynecological examination. The presence of HPVs in urine and cervical swab samples collected from 43 women who presented with invasive cervical cancer was investigated. HPV detection was done by means of degenerate primers in a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Typing of HPVs was done using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. HPV was identified and typed in 98% (42/43) of cervical swabs and 72% (31/43) of paired urine samples. HPV type 16 was the most common (25/42, 59%), followed by types: 33 (13/42, 31%), 18 (6/42, 14%), and 31 (1/42, 2%). Type-specific concordance between cervical and urine samples was high (22/28, 79%). Therefore, the HPV types identified in urine samples in most cases represent the same HPV type infecting the cervical epithelium. The results suggest that urine may be a practical sample for testing of HPV urogenital infection. Further research is required before the detection of HPV in urine can be applied in the routine cervical screening programs. J. Med. Virol. 71:110–114, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.