Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Cancers 2020, 12, 1093; doi:10.3390/cancers12051093


© 2020 by the authors.


Tanzania faces one of the highest cervical cancer burdens in the world. Recent work has suggested that the bacterial family Mycoplasmataceae is associated with higher levels of human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and pre-cancerous cervical lesions. Mycoplasmataceae infection in Tanzania is not well understood, especially when considering the differences between sexually transmitted species of Mycoplasmataceae. To establish the prevalence of common Mycoplasmataceae cervical infections and evaluate their relationship with risk factors for cervical cancer, 1160 Tanzanian women responded to an epidemiological questionnaire and were tested for HIV, HPV, cervical lesions, Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma spp., and Lactobacillus iners. A subset of 134 women were used for 16s metagenomic sequencing of cervical DNA to establish the relative abundance of Mycoplasmataceae and Lactobacillus present. PCR detection of bacteria at the cervix found Ureaplasma spp. in 51.4% of women, M. hominis in 34%, M. genitalium in 2.3%, and L. iners in 75.6%. M. hominis and M. genitalium infection were significantly more prevalent among women with HPV and HIV. M. hominis prevalence was similar despite severity of cervical lesions; however, abundance of M. hominis increased significantly in women with cervical lesions. These results emphasize the importance of understanding the relationship between M. hominis and HPV-related cervical pathogenesis.