Cervical carcinoma and sexual behavior: collaborative reanalysis of individual data on 15,461 women with cervical carcinoma and 29,164 women without cervical carcinoma from 21 epidemiological studies.
International Collaboration of Epidemiological Studies of Cervical Cancer None.
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types cause most cervical carcinomas and are sexually transmitted. Sexual behavior therefore affects HPV exposure and its cancer sequelae. The International Collaboration of Epidemiological Studies of Cervical Cancer has combined data on lifetime number of sexual partners and age at first sexual intercourse from 21 studies, or groups of studies, including 10,773 women with invasive cervical carcinoma, 4,688 women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3)/carcinoma in situ, and 29,164 women without cervical carcinoma. Relative risks for invasive cancer and CIN3 were estimated by conditional logistic regression. Risk of invasive cervical carcinoma increased with lifetime number of sexual partners (P for linear trend <0.001). The relative risk for > or =6 versus 1 partner, conditioned on age, study, and age at first intercourse, was 2.27 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.98-2.61] and increased to 2.78 (95% CI, 2.22-3.47) after additional conditioning on reproductive factors. The risk of invasive cervical carcinoma increased with earlier age at first intercourse (P for linear trend <0.001). The relative risk for age at first intercourse < or =14 versus > or =25 years, conditioned on age, study, and lifetime number of sexual partners was 3.52 (95% CI, 3.04-4.08), which decreased to 2.05 (95% CI, 1.54-2.73) after additional conditioning on reproductive factors. CIN3/carcinoma in situ showed a similar association with lifetime number of sexual partners; however, the association with age at first intercourse was weaker than for invasive carcinoma. Results should be interpreted with caution given the strong correlation between sexual and reproductive factors and the limited information on HPV status.