Are there specific types of HPV associated with cancer?

Scott A. Kamelle, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for the majority of cervical cancer and high grade dysplasia cases in the United States. HPV types 6 and 11 are responsible for low grade gynecologic infections and genital warts. The Gardesil vaccine protects patients from all four subtypes of HPV.
Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
Human papilloma virus is a DNA virus with over 100 subtypes. Typical subtypes associated with malignancy/cancer include 16, 18, 31 and 33.

Some types of HPV are referred to as "low-risk" viruses because they rarely cause lesions that develop into cancer. HPV types that are more likely to lead to the development of cancer are referred to as "high-risk." Both high-risk and low-risk types of HPV can cause the growth of abnormal cells, but only the high-risk types of HPV lead to cancer. Sexually transmitted, high-risk HPVs include types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68, and 73. These high-risk types of HPV cause growths on the cervix that are usually flat and nearly invisible, as compared with the external warts caused by low-risk types HPV–6 and HPV–11. HPV types 16 and 18 together cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. It is important to note, however, that the great majority of high-risk HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause cancer.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.