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Detection of Human Papillomavirus Among Women in Laos: Feasibility of Using Filter Paper Card and Prevalence of High-Risk Types
  1. Keokedthong Phongsavan, MD, PhD*,,
  2. Inger Gustavsson, BSC,
  3. Lena Marions, MD, PhD*,
  4. Alongkone Phengsavanh, MD, MSc§,
  5. Rolf Wahlström, MD, PhD and
  6. Ulf Gyllensten, MD, PhD
  1. *Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden;
  2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sethathirath Hospital, Vientiane, Laos;
  3. Department of Immunology,Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden;
  4. §Department of Postgraduate Study and Training Research, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane, Laos; and
  5. Division of Global Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Keokedthong Phongsavan, MD, PhD, c/o Lena Marions, MD, PhD, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: keota_63{at}; lena.marions{at}


Background Persistent infection with high-risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV) is a well-recognized cause of cervical cancer, but little is known about the situation in Laos. The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of HR-HPV among Lao women and to evaluate the use of a filter paper card (FTA Elute Micro Card) for collection of cervical cells in the humid tropical climate.

Methods This is a cross-sectional study including 1922 women from 3 provinces in Laos. During a gynecological examination, cervical cells were collected and applied to the FTA card followed by HPV typing using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay.

Results Overall, 213 of the 1922 women were positive for HR-HPV (11%). The most common type was the group HPV33/52/58 (3%), followed by the single type 16 (2%) and the group 18/45 (1%), respectively. Only 11 cards (0.6%) did not contain a sufficient amount of genomic DNA for polymerase chain reaction–based analysis.

Conclusions The prevalence of HR-HPV infections in Laos is similar to other Asian countries, and 40% of the women with an HR-HPV infection will be target of the present HPV vaccines. The FTA card is suitable for collection of cervical cells for HR-HPV typing in tropical conditions. This information is important for planning and establishing primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer in Laos.

  • Human papillomavirus
  • High-risk types
  • Cervical cancer
  • FTA card
  • Laos

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  • This study was funded by grants from the Swedish Cancer Foundation to UG, by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Swedish Institute (SI), Stockholm, Sweden.

  • The authors declare no conflicts of interests. The funding agency had no influence on the research process or in the preparation of the manuscript.