Background: Alpha-human papillomavirus (α-HPV) play a causal role in cervical cancer but little is known about the epidemiology of genital Beta-HPV infection. Methods: We used Luminex and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) hybridization to detect β- and α-HPVs prevalence at enrolment and 12-months follow-up in cervical samples from 505 women enrolled in the Ludwig-McGill cohort study. We compared epidemiological correlates of both β- and α-HPVs and compared genotypes between these genera with respect to co-occurrence and association with cervical cytological abnormalities. Results: Infection with β-HPV types was more prevalent than that with α-HPV types at both visits (cumulative prevalences: 27.3% vs. 21.6%, respectively, P=0.034). β-HPVs were mostly transient, however, only 1.98% women retained their original positivity at 12 months, whereas, persistence was higher for α-HPVs (5.15%) (P = 0.007). Age, parity, and sexual activity variables were predictors of α-HPV but not of β-HPV. α- and β-HPV types occurred independently. Increased risk of cervical abnormalities was restricted to women infected with α-9 or α-6 HPV types. We found no epidemiological correlates for β-HPV infections. Conclusions: Detection of β-HPV types in the cervix tends to occur as random and transient episodes not explained via the sexual-transmission correlates that characterize infections by α-HPVs. Impact: Although it is plausible that β-HPVs may play a direct or indirect carcinogenic role the lack of epidemiological correlates for detection episodes of these viruses and lack of association with cervical lesions speak against their ancillary role as sexually transmitted agents in cervical carcinogenesis.
- Received January 24, 2017.
- Revision received March 24, 2017.
- Accepted March 24, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.