Exploring the Causes of the Low Incidence of Cervical Cancer in Western Asia

Document Type : Short Communications


Department of Biomedical Physics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Anecdotal epidemiologic observations can provide valuable tools to study various biologic elements in complex
diseases such as cancer. Although cervical cancer is one of the most frequent malignancy affecting women in the world,
it displays wide geographical variations remnant of socioeconomic, ethnic and genetic predisposing factors. The observed
low incidence of cervical cancer in western Asia has triggered scientists to try to delineate the causes of this reduced
occurrence. Although this region including Saudi Arabia is known for being conservative societies with low incidence of
sexually transmitted infections including human papillomavirus (HPV) and associated cervical cancer, scientific
research points out multifaceted biological explanations including host genetic variations. Researchers observed that
a protective genetic variant TP53 codon 72 proline allele was more commonly found in this population and appear to
be over-transmitted compared to others known for their high rate of cervical cancer. Thus, the combination of relative
low rate of HPV infection, over-transmission of protective genetic variant along with societal variables are the rationale
behind the low incidence of cervical cancer in women in the region of western Asia. The influence of the genetic
makeup of the patients has impact on personalized preventive medicine to gauge the risk of developing cervical cancer.


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