Background/Aims: The role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the etiology of cervical cancer is now well established. This investigation was designed to study the prevalence of the four most common high-risk HPVs in the archival tissues with precancerous and cancerous lesions from patients from northwestern Iran. Methods: 133 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens were tested for HPV DNA by using GP5+/6+-based general PCR and two type-specific PCRs. Results: In total, 84 (64%) out of 131 amplifiable samples were positive for HPV DNA. The most prevalent oncogenic HPV was type 16 (67.6%) followed by types 31 (22.8%), 18 (7.6%) and 33 (1%). Multiple HPV infections were present in 20 (15.3%) of the 131 samples. Notably, of these 20 cases with multiple infections, 15 were from patients with invasive cervical cancer. Conclusions: The multiplicity of HPV genotypes was noted in invasive cervical carcinoma samples, along with rather different circulating HPV types in the study population. Hence, relevant HPV typing information in cervical carcinoma is very important for planning more efficient screening programs and for further HPV vaccine design.

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