Data from population-based human papillomavirus (HPV) surveys in regions of low, intermediate, and high cervical cancer incidence were used to study the ecologic correlation between high-risk HPV prevalence and cervical cancer incidence. All the surveys were conducted by the IARC according to a standardized protocol for the collection of female population samples and detection of HPV DNA using PCR assay in a central laboratory. Cervical cancer incidence data were extracted, when available, from a cancer registry covering the surrounding or nearby area of the prevalence survey. Thirteen areas were included in this analysis. The relation between high-risk HPV prevalence and cervical cancer incidence was investigated within 10-year age groups from age 25 to 65 years. A Poisson regression model was used to predict cervical cancer incidence from HPV prevalence, and the strength of the correlation was assessed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. The rank correlation was weakest in women ages 25 to 34 years and strongest in women ages 55 to 64 years. In addition, the prevalence of high-risk HPV was not able to predict cervical cancer incidence accurately in every country. Nevertheless, our data raise a concern about the cervical cancer burden in areas where reliable cervical cancer statistics do not exist but where the prevalence of high-risk HPV in women over age 45 is high.
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