Anal Cytological Lesions and HPV Infection in Individuals at Increased Risk for Anal Cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Anal cytology may be useful for evaluating lesions associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) in individuals at increased risk for anal cancer. METHODS: Liquid-based cytology was used to assess anal cytological lesions among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and HIV-uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM). The Linear Array HPV genotyping test was used for HPV detection. RESULTS: This cross-sectional study included 1021 MSM, of whom 388 were HIV-infected (38.0%). Anal cytological lesions (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or more severe [ASCUS+]) were observed in 32.5% and 53.2% of the HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected individuals, respectively (P <.0001). The highest ASCUS + prevalence was observed among ≥45-year-old HIV-uninfected MSM (37.3%) and 25-to 29-year-old HIV-infected MSM (66.7%). High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs) peaked in ≥ 45-year-old HIV-uninfected subjects and 35- to 39-year-old HIV-infected subjects. Individuals with anal infections with high-risk (HR) HPV types were 3 to 4 times more likely to have an ASCUS + report. An HPV-16 and/or HPV-18 infection increased the odds of HSIL or more severe cytology (HSIL+) for HIV-infected MSM almost 4 times. MSM concurrently infected with HR and low-risk HPVs were significantly more likely to have low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or more severe cytology (LSIL+) than those infected with only HR types. No significant associations were found between cytological abnormalities and the HIV load and nadir and current CD4 + counts. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of anal cytological lesions is high in MSM, even in HIV-infected individuals treated with combined antiretroviral therapy. In these subjects, HSILs occur more frequently and at a younger age in comparison with HIV-uninfected counterparts. Specific diagnostic procedures should be implemented to manage individuals at increased risk for anal cancer with an abnormal anal Papanicolaou test. Cancer Cytopathol 2018;126:461-70.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-470
Number of pages10
JournalCancer cytopathology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018


  • anal cancer
  • anal cytology
  • anal neoplasia
  • anal Papanicolaou (Pap) test
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • human papillomavirus
  • men who have sex with men
  • sexually transmitted infection (STI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Anal Cytological Lesions and HPV Infection in Individuals at Increased Risk for Anal Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this