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||Determinants of the geographic variation of invasive cervical cancer in Costa Rica.
||Herrero R, Brinton LA, Hartge P, Reeves WC, Breņes MM, Urcuyo R, Pacheco M, Fuster F, Sierra R
||Bull Pan Am Health Organ
||The incidence of cervical cancer in Costa Rica is about twice as high in the coastal regions as in the interior. To study these regional variations, we used data from a 1986-1987 case-control study of 192 Costa Rican women with invasive cervical cancer and 372 controls. Risk factors identified included the following: The study participant's (1) number of sexual partners, (2) age at first sexual intercourse, (3) number of live births, (4) presence of type 16/18 human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA, (5) venereal disease (VD) history, (6) Pap smear history, and (7) socioeconomic status. The adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each of these risk factors were as follows: (1) > or = 4 vs. 1 sexual partner: RR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.1-3.5; (2) age of initiation < or = 15 vs. > or = 18 years: RR = 1.5, 95% CI = 0.9-2.5; (3) > or = 6 vs. < or = 1 live birth: RR = 1.7, 95% CI = 0.7-3.9; (4) HPV 16/18 DNA in cervix: RR = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.9-4.2; (5) VD history: RR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.2-4.0; (6) no Pap smear: RR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.5-3.8; and (7) low socioeconomic status: RR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.2-3.2. The population-attributable risks related to HPV detection, four or more sexual partners, six or more live births, no prior Pap smear, and low socioeconomic status were 39%, 38%, 29%, 23%, and 22%, respectively. Several of the sexual and reproductive risk factors were relatively more prevalent in the high-risk region, but Pap screening and detection of HPV were equally prevalent in the high-risk and low-risk regions. Though differences in screening quality (laboratory and follow-up) may have been involved, we conclude that the observed regional differences reflect behavioral more than screening differences. This suggests that screening programs should be more aggressive in the high-risk area, given the more frequent occurrence of the disease there. Failure to detect a higher prevalence of HPV in the high-risk region could reflect weaknesses in the in situ hybridization test employed. Alternatively, cofactors may have to be present in order for HPV to exert its role in cervical carcinogenesis.