In Africa, data is limited on quantitation of human papillomavirus (HPV) types in women with multiple infections. This study applied a real time PCR (qPCR) assay for detection, genotyping and quantitation of multiple HPV infections in 90 tissue blocks of South African women with cervical squamous cell carcinoma. One sample with multiple HPV types was subjected to laser micro-dissection and qPCR. Four samples were negative for β-globin and these were excluded from the analysis. The HPV DNA positivity rate was 93.0% (80/86). All 80 positives showed the presence of HR HPV types; HPV 68 was the only type negative in all the samples. Overall, HPV 16 was positive in most of the samples (88.8%), followed by HPV 56 (28.7%), HPV 18 (20.0%) and HPV 39 (18.7%). More than half of the samples (65.0%) had multiple infections. HPV 16 was present in majority of single (85.7%) and multiple infections (90.4%). HPV 16 showed higher viral loads in 70.3% of the HPV 16 co-infected samples. In one multiple infected sample laser micro-dissection and qPCR identified HPV 18 with higher viral load as the most likely cause of the invasive lesion. There is large number of multiple HPV infections in South African women with cervical squamous cell carcinoma. HPV 16 is the most frequently detected type and often presents with higher viral load, suggesting it could be responsible for pathogenesis of the lesions in the majority of cases.
- Cervical squamous cell carcinoma
- HPV viral load
- Laser micro-dissection
- Multiple human papillomavirus infections
- Quantitative real time PCR