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HPV Strains Affecting African-American Women Differ from Vaccines

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Two subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) prevented by vaccines are half as likely to be found in African-American women as in white women with precancerous cervical lesions, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

The findings, presented on Oct. 28, 2013, at the 12th annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research hosted by the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that African-American women may be less likely to benefit from available HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 subtypes. The virus causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which begin as precancerous cervical abnormalities. Two vaccines currently available to young women prevent infection by HPV 16 and HPV 18, the HPV strains responsible for about 70 percent cervical cancers.

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