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IMP publishes the first study on the distribution of HPV and cervical cytology in Cape Verde

A collaboration between IMP Diagnostics Laboratory and Dra Carla Barbosa, anatomical pathologist at Agostinho Neto University Hospital in Cape Verde has yielded the first study on the distribution of HPV and cervical cytology in this country.

In the study published today (May 9th) in the scientific journal Tumor Virus Research, a team comprising researchers and anatomical pathologist physicians from IMP Diagnostics and Agostinho Neto University Hospital in Cape Verde, presents the initial data on HPV distribution—a virus associated with cervical cancer development—and cervical cytology—a diagnostic examination for this type of cancer in Cape Verde.

According to the report published in 2023 by ICO/IARC – the Information Center for HPV and Cancer, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Cape Verde and the leading one among women aged 15 to 44 years. Additionally, according to this report, as of its publication date (March 2023), there were no available data on HPV distribution in this country.

This work is based on a retrospective analysis of 13,000 cases and reveals significant data for the global understanding of HPV prevalence and cytological diagnoses in Cape Verde. On one hand, in cytological samples, we found low-grade lesions (which often disappear even without treatment) in 2.7% of cases and high-grade lesions (which, if untreated, can progress to cervical cancer) in 0.5%, values consistent with those reported in other countries and international guidelines. On the other hand, we detected the presence of HPV virus in 25% of the samples, a lower figure compared to the reported rate (32.3%) in a recent meta-analysis on the prevalence of high-risk HPV in Sub-Saharan African countries,” describes Dr. Rita Vieira, the first author of the article and head of the Cytology Laboratory at IMP Diagnostics.

In addition to detecting the presence of HPV16/18/45 subtypes, known to be high-risk oncogenic HPV responsible for triggering the majority of severe lesions, this study also presents a significant finding. ‘We found that in 75% of positive cases, there was the presence of other high-risk HPV subtypes, distinct from the ‘traditional’ ones (HPV16/18/45). This indicates that, for the population analyzed, different subtypes than the usual ones may play a role in the development of cervical disease in this country. As our sample size for high-grade lesions and carcinoma cases is limited, it would be important to conduct more extensive studies, especially in the context of organized screening, to understand the prevalence of these other subtypes and their impact,’ explains Dr. Diana Montezuma, author of the study, Pathologist, and head of the R&D Unit at IMP Diagnostics.

Dr. Carla Barbosa, author of the study and anatomical pathologist at Agostinho Neto University Hospital in Cape Verde, concludes, “The data presented by this study on the prevalence of cervical disease in Cape Verde represent a significant contribution to the current global strategy for eliminating this disease, as proposed by the World Health Assembly and based on three pillars: vaccination, screening, and treatment.

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