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The prevalence and significance of high-risk human papillomavirus DNA test in southern Malaysia and Singapore


: Associate Professor Sun-Kuie Tay, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608. Email:


Aim of Study: To investigate the prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and its associated cytological abnormalities among women attending cervical screening clinics in southern Malaysia and Singapore.

Method: Laboratory results of Hybrid Capture-II (Digene) HPV DNA and liquid-based cytology tests of consecutive women who had screening performed between January 2004 and December 2006 were studied retrospectively.

Results: Of 2364 women studied, the overall prevalence of high-risk HPV DNA detection rate was 25.6%. The prevalence peaked at 49.1% for women between 20 and 24 years old and declined to 23% among women between the age of 30 and 49 years. A small second peak of prevalence rate of 30% was observed among women above the age of 50 years old. 76.1% of the high-risk HPV infection regressed within the study period. An incidence infection rate of 16% was noted among a small group of women who had a second HPV DNA test. A total of 1153 women had both the HPV DNA and the cytology tests. Cytological abnormality (ASCUS or more) was detected in 8.9% in HPV DNA-positive group and in 3.1% in HPV DNA-negative group (P < 0.001). The risk ratio for HSIL was 9.8 for HPV-positive women compared to HPV-negative women. The prevalence of cytological abnormalities increased with increasing age of the women.

Conclusion: The epidemiology and clinical impact of high-risk HPV infection for women in Southern Malaysia and Singapore were indistinguishable from experience elsewhere. The apparent moderately high incidence of cervical cancer was explainable by suboptimal screening program.