HPV-prevalence in elderly women in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Berit Andersen
  • Birgitte Schütt Christensen
  • Jette Christensen
  • Dorthe Ejersbo
  • Hanne Nørgaard Heje
  • Kirsten Marie Jochumsen
  • Tonje Johansen
  • Lise Grupe Larsen
  • Lynge, Elsebeth
  • Reza Serizawa
  • Petra Hall Viborg
  • Marianne Waldstrøm

Aim: In countries like Denmark, cervical cancer incidence is at present relatively high in elderly women, while routine screening stops at age 65 years. On this background, all women aged 69 and above were invited to human papillomavirus (HPV)-screening in Denmark in 2017. Methods: Women were identified from the Central Population Register and personally invited by digital or ordinary mail to have a screening sample taken by their general practitioner. In four regions, samples were tested for high risk (HPV) with the cobas 4800® HPV-assay, and in the last region with the BD Onclarity® HPV-assay. Participation rate, prevalence of high risk HPV, and proportion of positive samples with HPV16, HPV18, and other high risk HPV-types were tabulated by 5-year age-groups. Results: 455,612 women were invited, and 30.2% (95 confidence interval (CI) 30.0–30.3) participated. Average age of participants was 74.6 years. Overall, 4.3% (95% CI 4.1–4.4) of participants were HPV-positive, of whom 24% had HPV 16/18. HPV-prevalence decreased slightly from 4.5% in women aged 69–73 years to 3.1% in women aged 84–88 years, but was 5.2% in the very small group of participants aged 89+ years. Conclusion: Invitation to HPV-screening was well received by elderly women. The HPV-prevalence decreased slightly with increasing age. No rebound of HPV-prevalence after menopause was found when our data were combined with previously published Danish data from younger women. The presently relatively high cervical cancer incidence in elderly women was not reflected in the HPV-prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Age, Cervical cancer, Human papillomavirus, Prevalence, Screening

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