Data on human papillomavirus (HPV) type distribution in invasive and pre-invasive cervical cancer is essential to predict the future impact of HPV16/18 vaccines and HPV-based screening tests. A meta-analyses of HPV type distribution in invasive cervical cancer (ICC) and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) identified a total of 14,595 and 7,094 cases, respectively. In ICC, HPV16 was the most common, and HPV18 the second most common, type in all continents. Combined HPV16/18 prevalence among ICC cases was slightly higher in Europe, North America and Australia (74-77%) than in Africa, Asia and South/Central America (65-70%). The next most common HPV types were the same in each continent, namely HPV31, 33, 35, 45, 52 and 58, although their relative importance differed somewhat by region. HPV18 was significantly more prevalent in adeno/adenosquamous carcinoma than in squamous cell carcinoma, with the reverse being true for HPV16, 31, 33, 52 and 58. Among HSIL cases, HPV16/18 prevalence was 52%. However, HPV 16, 18 and 45 were significantly under-represented, and other high-risk HPV types significantly over-represented in HSIL compared to ICC, suggesting differences in type-specific risks for progression. Data on HPV-typed ICC and HSIL cases were particularly scarce from large regions of Africa and Central Asia.