HealthDay News — An increase in human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence after renal transplantation may result from reactivation of latent HPV infections in women, according to a study published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Floor Hinten, MD, from the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues assessed the prevalence of genital HPV before and after renal transplantation in 65 female patients. Gynecological examination was performed at first visit, as well as 1 and 2 years later. Every 3 months, HPV self-sampling and questionnaires on sexual behavior were performed.

The researchers found that high-risk HPV increased significantly from 19% before renal transplantation to 31% after renal transplantation (P =.045) with the highly sensitive SPF10-LiPA25 test and increased from 10% before to 14% after renal transplantation (P =.31) with the Cobas 4800 HPV test. No changes in sexual behavior were reported during follow-up. Among 33 patients who were counseled, but did not undergo renal transplantation, the high-risk HPV prevalence was 21% at study entry and 27% after 12 months using the sensitive test; prevalence held stable at 16% with the clinically validated Cobas test.

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“The results of this study indicate that activation of latent HPV infections may contribute to the increased risk of HPV-related (pre)malignant lesions in female renal transplant recipients,” the authors write.

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Hinten F, Hilbrands LB, Meeuwis KAP, et al. Reactivation of latent HPV infections after renal transplantation [published online December 23, 2016]. Am J Transplant. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14181