Study of HPV genotypic status in reproductive age women in Nepal

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer and a leading cause of cancer mortality among women worldwide. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of cervical cancer in Nepal is 24.2 per 100,000, making Nepal a country with one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world. The reproductive age group (15-49) of women is the most vulnerable to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections. Over 99% global cervical cancers have been associated with 14 various high-risk HPV genotypes. HPV is a small (8 kb genome), non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA virus. There are more than 170 strains of HPV and approximately 40 of which play vital role in the infection to human ano-genital mucosa. HPV-16 and 18 are responsible for most of the cervical cancer; HPV-16 is the most carcinogenic and is associated with approximately 60% global cervical cancer incidences, while HPV-18 accounts for approximately 10% to 15% of cervical cancers (CDC).

For the early diagnosis of cervical dysplasia, the cutting-edge Real-Time PCR based technology is widely used as accurate diagnostic and confirmatory test with clear advantage over other routine tests such as Pap test and cytology. CMDN uses this multiplex-based real-time PCR to detect and quantify HPV DNA from samples collected from reproductive aged women from various regions of Nepal. Our study has revealed that there is 5% HPV infections in the general Nepalese female population. CMDN now has needed capacity to build reference HPV genotype data which can aid in the HPV vaccination program implementation. A better understanding of the underlying risk factors associated with HPV infections can help develop proper preventive disease strategies in Nepal.