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1.  Epstein-Barr Virus, Human Papillomavirus and Mouse Mammary Tumour Virus as Multiple Viruses in Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48788.
The purpose of this investigation is to determine if Epstein Barr virus (EBV), high risk human papillomavirus (HPV), and mouse mammary tumour viruses (MMTV) co-exist in some breast cancers.
Materials and Methods
All the specimens were from women residing in Australia. For investigations based on standard PCR, we used fresh frozen DNA extracts from 50 unselected invasive breast cancers. For normal breast specimens, we used DNA extracts from epithelial cells from milk donated by 40 lactating women. For investigations based on in situ PCR we used 27 unselected archival formalin fixed breast cancer specimens and 18 unselected archival formalin fixed normal breast specimens from women who had breast reduction surgery. Thirteen of these fixed breast cancer specimens were ductal carcinoma in situ (dcis) and 14 were predominantly invasive ductal carcinomas (idc).
EBV sequences were identified in 68%, high risk HPV sequences in 50%, and MMTV sequences in 78% of DNA extracted from 50 invasive breast cancer specimens. These same viruses were identified in selected normal and breast cancer specimens by in situ PCR. Sequences from more than one viral type were identified in 72% of the same breast cancer specimens. Normal controls showed these viruses were also present in epithelial cells in human milk – EBV (35%), HPV, 20%) and MMTV (32%) of 40 milk samples from normal lactating women, with multiple viruses being identified in 13% of the same milk samples.
We conclude that (i) EBV, HPV and MMTV gene sequences are present and co-exist in many human breast cancers, (ii) the presence of these viruses in breast cancer is associated with young age of diagnosis and possibly an increased grade of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3501510  PMID: 23183846
2.  Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus in Breast Milk are Associated with HIV-1 Shedding but Not With Mastitis 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(12):1453-1460.
Breast milk HIV-1 load is associated with clinical and subclinical mastitis, and both milk viral load and mastitis are associated with increased mother-to-child-transmission of HIV-1 (MTCT) through breastfeeding. Bacterial infections may cause clinical mastitis, but whether other co-pathogens common in HIV-1 infection are associated with subclinical mastitis or HIV-1 shedding is unknown.
A cross-sectional study of HIV-1 infected breastfeeding women in Zimbabwe was performed to examine the relationship between a wide range of breast co-infections, mastitis, and HIV-1 shedding.
Breast milk was cultured for bacteria and fungi, and tested by PCR for mycobacteria, mycoplasmas, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), HHV-7, HHV-8, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and HIV-1 RNA and DNA. Symptoms of clinical mastitis were documented, and subclinical mastitis was identified by breast milk sodium concentration (Na+) and leukocyte counts.
Co-infections of milk were not associated with clinical or subclinical mastitis in the 217 women studied. Detection of HIV-1 RNA, but not DNA, in breast milk was associated with CMV concentration (OR 1.8, p=0.002) and detection of EBV (OR 3.8, p=0.0003), but not other co-infections in multivariate analysis.
Co-infection of breast milk with bacteria, fungi or herpes viruses was not associated with mastitis. The associations between shedding of CMV and EBV with HIV-1 in milk suggest a local interaction between herpes virus infection and HIV-1 independent of mastitis. CMV and EBV infections may impact HIV-1 shedding in breast milk and the risk of MTCT.
PMCID: PMC2504751  PMID: 18614868
MTCT; breastfeeding; mastitis; CMV; EBV; HHV-6; HHV-7; HHV-8; mycobacteria; mycoplasmas
3.  Sex-Specific Immunization for Sexually Transmitted Infections Such as Human Papillomavirus: Insights from Mathematical Models 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(12):e1001147.
Johannes Bogaards and colleagues use mathematical models to investigate whether vaccinating females only, males only, or both sexes is the best way to achieve the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of sexually-transmitted infections
Sex-specific differences regarding the transmissibility and the course of infection are the rule rather than the exception in the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Human papillomavirus (HPV) provides an example: disease outcomes differ between men and women, as does the potential for transmission to the opposite sex. HPV vaccination of preadolescent girls was recently introduced in many countries, and inclusion of boys in the vaccination programs is being discussed. Here, we address the question of whether vaccinating females only, males only, or both sexes is the most effective strategy to reduce the population prevalence of an STI like HPV.
Methods and Findings
We use a range of two-sex transmission models with varying detail to identify general criteria for allocating a prophylactic vaccine between both sexes. The most effective reduction in the population prevalence of infection is always achieved by single-sex vaccination; vaccinating the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence is the preferred strategy in most circumstances. Exceptions arise only when the higher prevaccine prevalence is due to a substantially lower rate of natural immunity, or when natural immunity is lifelong, and a prolonged duration of infectiousness coincides with increased transmissibility. Predictions from simple models were confirmed in simulations based on an elaborate HPV transmission model. Our analysis suggests that relatively inefficient genital transmission from males to females might render male vaccination more effective in reducing overall infection levels. However, most existing HPV vaccination programs have achieved sufficient coverage to continue with female-only vaccination.
Increasing vaccine uptake among preadolescent girls is more effective in reducing HPV infection than including boys in existing vaccination programs. As a rule, directing prophylactic immunization at the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence results in the largest reduction of the population prevalence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (85% of them in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse (HPV is one of more than thirty sexually transmissable organisms that, globally, cause many millions of sexually transmitted infections every year). There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Most people become infected with HPV at some time during their life, but most never know they have been infected. Some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area, and several—in particular HPV16 and HPV18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer (and some other cancers, including anal, penile, head, and neck cancers). HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries by detecting the cancer early, when it can be treated. However, it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Moreover, most women in developing countries do not have access to screening. Because infection with specific HPV types can cause the development of some types of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to prevent cervical cancer. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV16 and HPV18, and HPV vaccination programs have been introduced in several countries. These programs are currently directed only at girls because HPV-related illness and death are higher among women than men, but should boys also be included in HPV vaccination programs? Men would benefit directly from immunization against HPV-related diseases, but, in addition, vaccination of boys might help to reduce the circulation of HPV in the population, thereby indirectly improving the protection of women through so-called “herd immunity.” In this study, the researchers used mathematical models to investigate whether vaccinating girls only, boys only, or both sexes is the most effective way to reduce the population prevalence of HPV infection (the proportion of the population infected with HPV).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first used a range of standard two-sex mathematical models of infection and transmission in heterosexual populations to identify general criteria for allocating an HPV vaccine between the sexes. They found that the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of HPV infection was always achieved by single-sex vaccination and that, in most situations, the preferred strategy was to vaccinate the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence of HPV infection. The researchers confirmed these predictions using a more elaborate HPV transmission model that incorporated differences among individuals in age and level of sexual activity. Importantly, this second analysis also suggested that for existing girl-only vaccination programs, increasing coverage of vaccination among girls would bolster herd immunity more effectively than switching to a policy of vaccinating both sexes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study suggest that increasing vaccine uptake among preadolescent girls is a more effective way to reduce HPV infection than including boys in existing vaccination programs. They also suggest that directing HPV vaccination at the sex with the highest prevaccine prevalence of infection will reduce the population prevalence of HPV most effectively. Although the accuracy of these findings is dependent on the assumptions included in the mathematical transmission models used by the researchers, these findings support a policy of increasing female HPV vaccine coverage as far as possible, within the limits set by vaccine acceptance and economic constraints. More generally, these findings suggest that single-sex preventative interventions might be the best way to reduce heterosexual transmission of other sexually transmitted infections and that targeting the sex with the highest prevalence of infection might achieve the most effective reduction in the population prevalence of these common diseases.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and HPV vaccination (available in several languages and including a short video of girls talking about HPV vaccination)
The PREHDICT project investigates health-economic modeling of prevention strategies for HPV-related diseases in European countries; information about this project is available from the European Cervical Cancer Association
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from Macmillan Cancer Support
Personal stories about cervical cancer are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and other sexually transmitted infections (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3243713  PMID: 22205887
4.  Presence of papillomavirus sequences in condylomatous lesions of the mamillae and in invasive carcinoma of the breast 
Breast Cancer Research  2004;7(1):R1-R11.
Viruses including Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), a human equivalent of murine mammary tumour virus (MMTV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) have been implicated in the aetiology of human breast cancer. We report the presence of HPV DNA sequences in areolar tissue and tumour tissue samples from female patients with breast carcinoma. The presence of virus in the areolar–nipple complex suggests to us a potential pathogenic mechanism.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was undertaken to amplify HPV types in areolar and tumour tissue from breast cancer cases. In situ hybridisation supported the PCR findings and localised the virus in nipple, areolar and tumour tissue.
Papillomavirus DNA was present in 25 of 29 samples of breast carcinoma and in 20 of 29 samples from the corresponding mamilla. The most prevalent type in both carcinomas and nipples was HPV 11, followed by HPV 6. Other types detected were HPV 16, 23, 27 and 57 (nipples and carcinomas), HPV 20, 21, 32, 37, 38, 66 and GA3-1 (nipples only) and HPV 3, 15, 24, 87 and DL473 (carcinomas only). Multiple types were demonstrated in seven carcinomas and ten nipple samples.
The data demonstrate the occurrence of HPV in nipple and areolar tissues in patients with breast carcinoma. The authors postulate a retrograde ductular pattern of viral spread that may have pathogenic significance.
PMCID: PMC1064094  PMID: 15642157
areolar tissue; breast carcinoma; papillomavirus
5.  Correlation between ebv co-infection and HPV16 genome integrity in Tunisian cervical cancer patients 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2012;43(2):744-753.
Infection with high risk Human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) is necessary but not sufficient to cause cervical carcinoma. This study explored whether multiple HR-HPV or coinfection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) influence the integration status of HPV16 genome. The presence and typing of HPV in a series of 125 cervical specimens were assessed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the specific primers for the HPV L1 region. As for EBV infection, the viral EBNA1 gene was used for its detection through PCR amplification. Disruption of the HPV E2 gene was assessed by amplification of the entire E2 gene with single set of primers, while E2 transcripts were evaluated by a reverse transcription PCR method (RT-PCR). The overall prevalence of HPVDNA was of 81.8% in cervical cancers versus 26.9% in benign lesions. In HPV positive cases, HPV16 and HPV18 were the most prevalent types, followed by HPV types 33, 31. EBV EBNA1 prevalence was statistically more frequent in cervical carcinomas than in benign lesions (29.5%, vs 9.6%; P=0.01). No viral infection was detected in healthy control women. The uninterrupted E2 gene was correlated with the presence of E2 transcripts originating from the HPV episomal forms. It was observed that integration was more common in HPV18 and EBV coinfection. The presence of EBV caused a five-fold [OR= 5; CI= 1.15-21.8; P = 0.04] increase in the risk of HPV16 genome integration in the host genome. This study indicates that EBV infection is acting as a cofactor for induction of cervical cancer by favoring HPVDNA integration.
PMCID: PMC3768824  PMID: 24031886
Cervical cancer; Epstein-Barr virus; E2 gene; E2 mRNA; High risk human papillomaviruses
6.  Human Mammary Tumor Virus (HMTV) sequences in human milk 
Retroviral sequences 90-95% homologous to the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) were present in 38% of the breast cancers studied from American women and were not detectable in non-tumor breast tissue from the same patient. The entire proviral structure was described and viral particles were isolated from primary cultures of human breast cancer. This virus was designated as human mammary tumor virus (HMTV). Hormone response elements present in the HMTV Long-Terminal-Repeat (LTR) suggest a mechanism for association of HMTV with hormonally responding tissues. In fact, the incidence of HMTV sequences is higher in gestational breast cancers, which are associated with hormonal changes. Milk epithelial cells are also under hormonal regulation and therefore are excellent specimens for HMTV sequence detection.
The HMTV sequence was studied in milk samples from lactating women recruited with increased risk of breast cancer because they had undergone breast biopsies (Biopsy-Group) and lactating women without breast biopsies (Reference-Group).
HMTV-env sequences were detected by PCR in milk of 7.61% of 92 women of the Reference-Group and in 20.55% of 73 women of the Biopsy-Group (p: 0.015). The sequences were 94-98% homologous to MMTV. HMTV-env and HMTV-env/LTR junction sequences were detected in high-speed pellet RNA, implying the presence of HMTV viral particles. PCR assays to detect the murine mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase gene and intracisternal-A-type particle sequences were performed to rule out mouse mitochondrial or genomic DNA contamination. Eight women of the 73 Biopsy-Group participants had breast cancer and the milk of only one of these eight women had HMTV-env sequences. In the remaining 65 women of the Biopsy-Group, under enough clinical suspicion to lead to biopsy, HMTV was detected in 14, nearly three times the number of milks as compared to the Reference-Group (21.54% versus 7.61%; p: 0.016).
The significance of HMTV in milk from the Reference-Group, the greater frequency in the milk of women who had undergone a breast biopsy and its possible infectivity for infants are important questions under study. The similarity of HMTV to MMTV is striking and suggests one possible avenue for viral transmission in humans.
PMCID: PMC4129428  PMID: 25120582
Retrovirus; Breast cancer; HMTV; Milk; Breast biopsies
7.  Human Papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr virus co-infection in Cervical Carcinoma in Algerian women 
Virology Journal  2013;10:340.
Despite the fact that the implication of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the carcinogenesis and prognosis of cervical cancer is well established, the impact of a co-infection with high risk HPV (HR-HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is still not fully understood.
Fifty eight randomly selected cases of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the uterine cervix, 14 normal cervices specimens, 21 CIN-2/3 and 16 CIN-1 cases were examined for EBV and HPV infections. Detection of HR-HPV specific sequences was carried out by PCR amplification using consensus primers of Manos and by Digene Hybrid Capture. The presence of EBV was revealed by amplifying a 660 bp specific EBV sequence of BALF1. mRNA expression of LMP-1 in one hand and protein levels of BARF-1, LMP-1 and EBNA-1 in the other hand were assessed by RT-PCR and immunoblotting and/or immunohischemistry respectively.
HR-HPV infection was found in patients with SCC (88%), low-grade (75%) and high grade (95%) lesions compared to only 14% of normal cervix cases. However, 69%, 12.5%, 38.1%, and 14% of SCC, CIN-1, CIN-2/3 and normal cervix tissues, respectively, were EBV infected. The highest co-infection (HR-HPV and EBV) was found in squamous cell carcinoma cases (67%). The latter cases showed 27% and 29% expression of EBV BARF-1 and LMP-1 oncogenes respectively.
The high rate of HR-HPV and EBV co-infection in SCC suggests that EBV infection is incriminated in cervical cancer progression. This could be taken into account as bad prognosis in this type of cancer. However, the mode of action in dual infection in cervical oncogenesis needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4225508  PMID: 24252325
Human papillomavirus; Epstein-Barr virus; Cervical cancer; Uterine cervix; Confection
8.  Landscape of DNA Virus Associations across Human Malignant Cancers: Analysis of 3,775 Cases Using RNA-Seq 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(16):8916-8926.
Elucidation of tumor-DNA virus associations in many cancer types has enhanced our knowledge of fundamental oncogenesis mechanisms and provided a basis for cancer prevention initiatives. RNA-Seq is a novel tool to comprehensively assess such associations. We interrogated RNA-Seq data from 3,775 malignant neoplasms in The Cancer Genome Atlas database for the presence of viral sequences. Viral integration sites were also detected in expressed transcripts using a novel approach. The detection capacity of RNA-Seq was compared to available clinical laboratory data. Human papillomavirus (HPV) transcripts were detected using RNA-Seq analysis in head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma, uterine endometrioid carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. Detection of HPV by RNA-Seq correlated with detection by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry in squamous cell carcinoma tumors of the head and neck. Hepatitis B virus and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were detected using RNA-Seq in hepatocellular carcinoma and gastric carcinoma tumors, respectively. Integration sites of viral genes and oncogenes were detected in cancers harboring HPV or hepatitis B virus but not in EBV-positive gastric carcinoma. Integration sites of expressed viral transcripts frequently involved known coding areas of the host genome. No DNA virus transcripts were detected in acute myeloid leukemia, cutaneous melanoma, low- and high-grade gliomas of the brain, and adenocarcinomas of the breast, colon and rectum, lung, prostate, ovary, kidney, and thyroid. In conclusion, this study provides a large-scale overview of the landscape of DNA viruses in human malignant cancers. While further validation is necessary for specific cancer types, our findings highlight the utility of RNA-Seq in detecting tumor-associated DNA viruses and identifying viral integration sites that may unravel novel mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3754044  PMID: 23740984
9.  Epstein-Barr Virus and Human Papillomavirus Infections and Genotype Distribution in Head and Neck Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113702.
To investigate the prevalence, genotypes, and prognostic values of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in Japanese patients with different types of head and neck cancer (HNC).
Methods and Materials
HPV and EBV DNA, EBV genotypes and LMP-1 variants, and HPV mRNA expression were detected by PCR from fresh-frozen HNC samples. HPV genotypes were determined by direct sequencing, and EBV encoded RNA (EBER) was examined by in situ hybridization.
Of the 209 HNC patients, 63 (30.1%) had HPV infection, and HPV-16 was the most common subtype (86.9%). HPV E6/E7 mRNA expression was found in 23 of 60 (38.3%) HPV DNA-positive cases detected. The site of highest prevalence of HPV was the oropharynx (45.9%). Among 146 (69.9%) HNCs in which EBV DNA was identified, 107 (73.3%) and 27 (18.5%) contained types A and B, respectively, and 124 (84.9%) showed the existence of del-LMP-1. However, only 13 (6.2%) HNCs were positive for EBER, 12 (92.3%) of which derived from the nasopharynx. Co-infection of HPV and EBER was found in only 1.0% of HNCs and 10.0% of NPCs. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed significantly better disease-specific and overall survival in the HPV DNA+/mRNA+ oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPC) patients than in the other OPC patients (P = 0.027 and 0.017, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that stage T1–3 (P = 0.002) and HPV mRNA-positive status (P = 0.061) independently predicted better disease-specific survival. No significant difference in disease-specific survival was found between the EBER-positive and -negative NPC patients (P = 0.155).
Our findings indicate that co-infection with HPV and EBV is rare in HNC. Oropharyngeal SCC with active HPV infection was related to a highly favorable outcome, while EBV status was not prognostic in the NPC cohort.
PMCID: PMC4236156  PMID: 25405488
10.  Germline Mutation in RNASEL Predicts Increased Risk of Head and Neck, Uterine Cervix and Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2492.
The Background
Ribonuclease L (RNASEL), encoding the 2′-5′-oligoadenylate (2-5A)-dependent RNase L, is a key enzyme in the interferon induced antiviral and anti-proliferate pathway. Mutations in RNASEL segregate with the disease in prostate cancer families and specific genotypes are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Infection by human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major risk factor for uterine cervix cancer and for a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). HPV, Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and sequences from mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) have been detected in breast tumors, and the presence of integrated SV40 T/t antigen in breast carcinomas correlates with an aggressive phenotype and poor prognosis.
A genetic predisposition could explain why some viral infections persist and induce cancer, while others disappear spontaneously. This points at RNASEL as a strong susceptibility gene.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To evaluate the implication of an abnormal activity of RNase L in the onset and development of viral induced cancers, the study was initiated by searching for germline mutations in patients diagnosed with uterine cervix cancer. The rationale behind is that close to 100% of the cervix cancer patients have a persistent HPV infection, and if a defective RNase L were responsible for the lack of ability to clear the HPV infection, we would expect to find a wide spectrum of mutations in these patients, leading to a decreased RNase L activity. The HPV genotype was established in tumor DNA from 42 patients diagnosed with carcinoma of the uterine cervix and somatic tissue from these patients was analyzed for mutations by direct sequencing of all coding and regulatory regions of RNASEL. Fifteen mutations, including still uncharacterized, were identified. The genotype frequencies of selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) established in the cervix cancer patients were compared between 382 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), 199 patients with primary unilateral breast cancer and 502 healthy Danish control individuals. We found that the genotype frequencies of only one of the 15 mutations, the yet uncharacterized 5′UTR mutation rs3738579 differed significantly between cancer patients and control individuals (P-value: 4.43×10−5).
In conclusion, we have discovered an increased risk, a heterozygous advantage and thereby a protective effect linked to the RNASEL SNP rs3738579. This effect is found for patients diagnosed with carcinoma of the uterine cervix, HNSCC, and breast cancer thus pointing at RNASEL as a general marker for cancer risk and not restricted to familial prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2424240  PMID: 18575592
11.  A Population-Based Evaluation of a Publicly Funded, School-Based HPV Vaccine Program in British Columbia, Canada: Parental Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Receipt 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000270.
Analysis of a telephone survey by Gina Ogilvie and colleagues identifies the parental factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a school-based program in Canada.
Information on factors that influence parental decisions for actual human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine receipt in publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccine programs for girls is limited. We report on the level of uptake of the first dose of the HPV vaccine, and determine parental factors associated with receipt of the HPV vaccine, in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods and Findings
All parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the academic year of September 2008–June 2009 in the province of British Columbia were eligible to participate. Eligible households identified through the provincial public health information system were randomly selected and those who consented completed a validated survey exploring factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to calculate adjusted odds ratios to identify the factors that were associated with parents' decision to vaccinate their daughter(s) against HPV. 2,025 parents agreed to complete the survey, and 65.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 63.1–67.1) of parents in the survey reported that their daughters received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. In the same school-based vaccine program, 88.4% (95% CI 87.1–89.7) consented to the hepatitis B vaccine, and 86.5% (95% CI 85.1–87.9) consented to the meningococcal C vaccine. The main reasons for having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were the effectiveness of the vaccine (47.9%), advice from a physician (8.7%), and concerns about daughter's health (8.4%). The main reasons for not having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were concerns about HPV vaccine safety (29.2%), preference to wait until the daughter is older (15.6%), and not enough information to make an informed decision (12.6%). In multivariate analysis, overall attitudes to vaccines, the impact of the HPV vaccine on sexual practices, and childhood vaccine history were predictive of parents having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program. By contrast, having a family with two parents, having three or more children, and having more education was associated with a decreased likelihood of having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine.
This study is, to our knowledge, one of the first population-based assessments of factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a publicly funded school-based program worldwide. Policy makers need to consider that even with the removal of financial and health care barriers, parents, who are key decision makers in the uptake of this vaccine, are still hesitant to have their daughters receive the HPV vaccine, and strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake need to be employed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, globally, more than a quarter of a million women die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Although most people become infected with HPV at some time in their life, most never know they are infected. However, some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area and several—in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer. HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries in recent decades by detecting the cancer early when it can be treated; but it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Because HPV is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV infection before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to do this. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 (and with two HPVs that cause genital warts) and that should, therefore, reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Publicly funded HPV vaccination programs are now planned or underway in several countries; but before girls can receive the HPV vaccine, parental consent is usually needed, so it is important to know what influences parental decisions about HPV vaccination. In this study, the researchers undertake a telephone survey to determine the uptake of the HPV vaccine by 11-year-old girls (grade 6) in British Columbia, Canada, and to determine the parental factors associated with vaccine uptake; British Columbia started a voluntary school-based HPV vaccine program in September 2008.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In early 2009, the researchers contacted randomly selected parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the 2008–2009 academic year and asked them to complete a telephone survey that explored factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. 65.1% of the 2,025 parents who completed the survey had consented to their daughter receiving the first dose of HPV vaccine. By contrast, more than 85% of the parents had consented to hepatitis B and meningitis C vaccination of their daughters. Nearly half of the parents surveyed said their main reason for consenting to HPV vaccination was the effectiveness of the vaccine. Conversely, nearly a third of the parents said concern about the vaccine's safety was their main reason for not consenting to vaccination and one in eight said they had been given insufficient information to make an informed decision. In a statistical analysis of the survey data, the researchers found that a positive parental attitude towards vaccination, a parental belief that HPV vaccination had limited impact on sexual practices, and completed childhood vaccination increased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the HPV vaccine. Having a family with two parents or three or more children and having well-educated parents decreased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide one of the first population-based assessments of the factors that affect HPV vaccine uptake in a setting where there are no financial or health care barriers to vaccination. By identifying the factors associated with parental reluctance to agree to HPV vaccination for their daughters, these findings should help public-health officials design strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake, although further studies are needed to discover why, for example, parents with more education are less likely to agree to vaccination than parents with less education. Importantly, the findings of this study, which are likely to be generalizable to other high-income countries, indicate that there is a continued need to ensure that the public receives credible, clear information about both the benefits and long-term safety of HPV vaccination.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and on HPV vaccination
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
ImmunizeBC provides general information about vaccination and information about HPV vaccination in British Columbia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2864299  PMID: 20454567
12.  Oncogenic human papillomavirus-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma: an observational study of correlation with ethnicity, histological subtype and outcome in a UK population 
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) accounts for 0.6% of all cancers worldwide with the highest prevalence in South East Asia, Southern China and Northern Africa but the disease is uncommon in Europe with an annual incidence in this region of less than 1 per 100 000. Although the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a well known causative agent in NPC, recent reports have implicated oncogenic Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in a subgroup of these tumours. The recent striking rise of oropharyngeal carcinoma has been attributed to HPV, but little is known about the prevalence and clinical significance of the virus in NPC. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of oncogenic HPV in NPC from tissue archives of two head and neck cancer centres in the UK.
Samples were available for 67 patients with clinically validated NPC. The detection of high-risk HPV was carried out by screening all cases for p16 using immunohistochemistry and HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using GP5+/6+ primers. All cases with p16 over-expression or positive for HPV by PCR were then examined by high-risk HPV DNA in-situ hybridisation and genotype analysis by PCR.
Eleven cases (11/67, 16.4%) showed concurrent over-expression of p16 and evidence of high-risk HPV DNA by in-situ hybridisation; the majority were HPV16 positive. Of these 11 cases, nine occurred in Whites and two in Blacks. Histologically, there were two keratinising squamous cell carcinoma and nine non-keratinising carcinomas (eight differentiated and one undifferentiated). None of the HPV-positive cases showed any co-infection with EBV. There was no statistically significant difference in overall survival outcome between patients with HPV-positive and HPV-negative NPC.
The results of this study show that oncogenic HPV is associated with a subgroup of NPCs and is more likely to occur in Whites. However, unlike oropharyngeal carcinoma there was no significant difference in overall survival between patients with HPV-positive and HPV-negative NPC.
PMCID: PMC3751535  PMID: 23938045
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Human papillomavirus; Epstein-Barr virus
13.  Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas in HIV-Positive Patients: A Preliminary Investigation of Viral Associations 
Head and Neck Pathology  2010;4(2):97-105.
Oncogenic human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are associated with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) increases susceptibility to opportunistic infections and viral-promoted cancers. The prevalences of HPV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) have not been established for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in HIV-positive patients (HIV+ HNSCC). We have observed that HIV+ HNSCC tend to contain numerous multinucleated tumor giant cells, this finding has not been described previously. The goal of this study is to test for these oncogenic viruses in a small cohort of retrospectively identified patients with HIV infection, and to compare histologically these cancers to a control group of HNSCC patients. Tumors were reviewed histologically and compared to a control group of 102 patients with HNSCC (serologically untyped or HIV negative). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded HIV+ HNSCC samples from combined 25 patients in two institutions. In situ hybridization was performed to identify EBV (EBER) and immunohistochemistry was performed to detect HSV-1, HSV-2, HHV-8, and HIV-related proteins (Nef, p24). The study sample consisted of 34 HIV+ patients with HNSCC from Montefiore Medical Center, and six HIV+ HNSCC patients from Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona; 24 (60%) men and 16 (40%) women. The larynx was most commonly involved (65%, n = 26); followed by the oropharynx (22.5%, n = 9). Four carcinomas arose from the oral cavity (10%) and one from the nasal cavity (2.5%). Histologically, multinucleated tumor giant cells were more common in the HIV+ group (39/40, 97.5%) than the control group (27/102, 26%, p 0.001, chi-square). HPV was detected in 6 of 25 (24%) HNSCC tumors by PCR, five were typed as HPV 16 and one as HPV 26/69; five of these tumors (83%) were located in the oropharynx. EBV, HSV-1, HSV-2, and HHV-8 were detected only infrequently in tumor cells. Nef protein was detected in tumor cells in 7 of 21 (33.3%) cases; p24 was not detectable in 6 tumors studied. There were no significant associations between HPV positive tumors and co-infections with other viruses. This study is consistent with other reports that suggest an increased incidence of laryngeal carcinoma for HIV+ patients. HPV was detected in 24% of HIV+ HNSCC, however, the number of tumors with amplifiable DNA (n = 25) is too small to allow for conclusions. EBV, HSV-1, HSV-2, and HHV-8 are uncommon in HIV+ HNSCC; it is unlikely that these viruses have a promoting effect. MNTCG are significantly common in HIV+ HNSCC, but there is overlap in MNTCG counts with the control group and therefore this finding cannot be used as a biomarker of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC2878620  PMID: 20333562
AIDS; HIV; HNSCC; Squamous carcinoma; HPV
14.  Genotypic mapping of HPV and assessment of EBV prevalence in endocervical lesions. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1997;50(11):904-910.
AIMS: To examine the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in low grade glandular intraepithelial lesions of the cervix, adenocarcinoma with high grade glandular intraepithelial lesions combined, and adenocarcinomas; and to perform a genotyping mapping analysis of endocervical carcinomas to determine the extent of HPV infections in such lesions. MATERIAL: Archival paraffin wax embeded material from the files of the departments of pathology, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, and University College Cork, Ireland. METHODS: HPV prevalence was examined using type specific HPV PCR, general primer HPV PCR (pan HPV screen), nonisotopic in situ hybridisation (NISH), and PCR in situ hybridisation (PCR-ISH). In situ hybridisation was performed using fluorescein labelled oligonucleotide cocktail for eber transcripts of EBV. Genotypic analysis was performed, in all cases where possible, using a grid system. RESULTS: HPV 16 and 18 were predominantly identified in low grade glandular intraepithelial lesions, high grade glandular intraepithelial lesions, and adenocarcinomas, with HPV prevalence increasing with grade of dysplasia. EBV was only identified in subepithelial lymphocytes in a minority of cases. No link could be shown between HPV and EBV in endocervical lesions. HPV infection was not clonal in endocervical cancer and coexistent adjacent cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, where present, tended to show a similar HPV type. CONCLUSIONS: The restriction of HPV types 16 and 18 to endocervical lesions suggests that their effect is restricted and specific to endocervical mucosa, but the mechanism of interaction is currently unknown.
PMCID: PMC500313  PMID: 9462238
15.  Human Papillomavirus Community in Healthy Persons, Defined by Metagenomics Analysis of Human Microbiome Project Shotgun Sequencing Data Sets 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):4786-4797.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes a number of neoplastic diseases in humans. Here, we show a complex normal HPV community in a cohort of 103 healthy human subjects, by metagenomics analysis of the shotgun sequencing data generated from the NIH Human Microbiome Project. The overall HPV prevalence was 68.9% and was highest in the skin (61.3%), followed by the vagina (41.5%), mouth (30%), and gut (17.3%). Of the 109 HPV types as well as additional unclassified types detected, most were undetectable by the widely used commercial kits targeting the vaginal/cervical HPV types. These HPVs likely represent true HPV infections rather than transitory exposure because of strong organ tropism and persistence of the same HPV types in repeat samples. Coexistence of multiple HPV types was found in 48.1% of the HPV-positive samples. Networking between HPV types, cooccurrence or exclusion, was detected in vaginal and skin samples. Large contigs assembled from short HPV reads were obtained from several samples, confirming their genuine HPV origin. This first large-scale survey of HPV using a shotgun sequencing approach yielded a comprehensive map of HPV infections among different body sites of healthy human subjects.
IMPORTANCE This nonbiased survey indicates that the HPV community in healthy humans is much more complex than previously defined by widely used kits that are target selective for only a few high- and low-risk HPV types for cervical cancer. The importance of nononcogenic viruses in a mixed HPV infection could be for stimulating or inhibiting a coexisting oncogenic virus via viral interference or immune cross-reaction. Knowledge gained from this study will be helpful to guide the designing of epidemiological and clinical studies in the future to determine the impact of nononcogenic HPV types on the outcome of HPV infections.
PMCID: PMC3993818  PMID: 24522917
16.  Genetic Analyses of HIV-1 env Sequences Demonstrate Limited Compartmentalization in Breast Milk and Suggest Viral Replication within the Breast That Increases with Mastitis ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(20):10812-10819.
The concentration of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is generally lower in breast milk than in blood. Mastitis, or inflammation of the breast, is associated with increased levels of milk HIV-1 and risk of mother-to-child transmission through breastfeeding. We hypothesized that mastitis facilitates the passage of HIV-1 from blood into milk or stimulates virus production within the breast. HIV-1 env sequences were generated from single amplicons obtained from breast milk and blood samples in a cross-sectional study. Viral compartmentalization was evaluated using several statistical methods, including the Slatkin and Maddison (SM) test. Mastitis was defined as an elevated milk sodium (Na+) concentration. The association between milk Na+ and the pairwise genetic distance between milk and blood viral sequences was modeled using linear regression. HIV-1 was compartmentalized within milk by SM testing in 6/17 (35%) specimens obtained from 9 women, but all phylogenetic clades included viral sequences from milk and blood samples. Monotypic sequences were more prevalent in milk samples than in blood samples (22% versus 13%; P = 0.012), which accounted for half of the compartmentalization observed. Mastitis was not associated with compartmentalization by SM testing (P = 0.621), but Na+ was correlated with greater genetic distance between milk and blood HIV-1 populations (P = 0.041). In conclusion, local production of HIV-1 within the breast is suggested by compartmentalization of virus and a higher prevalence of monotypic viruses in milk specimens. However, phylogenetic trees demonstrate extensive mixing of viruses between milk and blood specimens. HIV-1 replication in breast milk appears to increase with inflammation, contributing to higher milk viral loads during mastitis.
PMCID: PMC2950573  PMID: 20660189
17.  Human Papillomavirus and WHO Type I Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
The Laryngoscope  2010;120(10):1990-1997.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a rare cancer in the United States. An association between NPC and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is well-established for World Health Organization (WHO) types II and III (WHO-II/III) NPC but less well-established for WHO type I (WHO-I) NPC. Given the rise in oropharyngeal tumors positive for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and the unique biology of WHO-I NPC, we examined the relationship between HPV and WHO-I NPC.
Study Design
Retrospective case-comparison study.
A search of a large multidisciplinary cancer center tumor registry identified 183 patients seen from January 1999 to December 2008 with incident NPC and no prior cancer. Available paraffin-embedded tumor specimens (N=30) were analyzed for oncogenic HPV status by in-situ hybridization (ISH) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HPV-16 and HPV-18; EBV status by ISH; and p16 expression by immunohistochemistry. Demographic parameters, including race and smoking, were obtained from the medical records.
Among the 18 WHO-I NPC patients, 66% (N=12) were smokers and 17% (N=3) Asian; among the 165 WHO-II/III NPC patients, 44% (N=73) were smokers and 24% (N=39) Asian. Eight WHO-I NPC patients had available paraffin blocks; 5 of 6 were HPV-16-positive by PCR and 4 of 8 were HPV-positive by ISH; only 2 of 8 (25%) were EBV-positive. Twenty-two WHO-II/III NPC patients had available paraffin blocks; only 1 was HPV-positive by ISH, and 13 of 22 (60%) were EBV-positive.
These results suggest that WHO-I NPC is associated with oncogenic HPV, though larger studies are needed to verify these findings.
PMCID: PMC4212520  PMID: 20824783
Human papillomavirus; Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma; WHO Type; In-situ hybridization; Polymerase chain reaction
18.  Human papillomavirus detection in moroccan patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignant tumor which arises in surface epithelium of the posterior wall of the nasopharynx. There's is evidence that Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is associated to NPC development. However, many epidemiologic studies point to a connection between viral infections by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and NPC.
Seventy Moroccan patients with NPC were screened for EBV and HPV. EBV detection was performed by PCR amplification of BZLF1 gene, encoding the ZEBRA (Z Epstein-Barr Virus Replication Activator) protein, and HPV infection was screened by PCR amplification with subsequent typing by hybridization with specific oligonucleotides for HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45 and 59.
The age distribution of our patients revealed a bimodal pattern. Sixty two cases (88.9%) were classified as type 3 (undifferentiated carcinoma), 6 (8.6%) as type 2 (non keratinizing NPC) and only 2 (2.9%) cases were classified as type 1 (keratinizing NPC). EBV was detected in all NPC tumors, whereas HPV DNA was revealed in 34% of cases (24/70). Molecular analysis showed that 20.8% (5/24) were infected with HPV31, and the remaining were infected with other oncogenic types (i.e., HPV59, 16, 18, 33, 35 and 45). In addition, statistical analysis showed that there's no association between sex or age and HPV infection (P > 0.1).
Our data indicated that EBV is commonly associated with NPC in Moroccan patients and show for the first time that NPC tumours from Moroccan patients harbour high risk HPV genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3060847  PMID: 21352537
19.  Viral Perturbations of Host Networks Reflect Disease Etiology 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(6):e1002531.
Many human diseases, arising from mutations of disease susceptibility genes (genetic diseases), are also associated with viral infections (virally implicated diseases), either in a directly causal manner or by indirect associations. Here we examine whether viral perturbations of host interactome may underlie such virally implicated disease relationships. Using as models two different human viruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV), we find that host targets of viral proteins reside in network proximity to products of disease susceptibility genes. Expression changes in virally implicated disease tissues and comorbidity patterns cluster significantly in the network vicinity of viral targets. The topological proximity found between cellular targets of viral proteins and disease genes was exploited to uncover a novel pathway linking HPV to Fanconi anemia.
Author Summary
Many “virally implicated human diseases” - diseases for which there is scientific consensus of viral involvement - are associated with genetic alterations in particular disease susceptibility genes. We proposed and demonstrated that for two human viruses, Epstein-Barr virus and human papillomavirus, topological proximity should exist between host targets of viruses and genes associated with virally implicated diseases on host interactome networks (local impact hypothesis). For representative EBV- and HPV16- implicated diseases, genes in the neighborhood of viral targets in the host interactome have significantly shifted expression levels in virally implicated disease tissues, in line with the local impact hypothesis. The viral neighborhoods in the host interactome, along with their disease associations, defined as “viral disease networks”, contain connections known to be informative upon disease mechanisms as well as diseases whose associations with viruses are not yet known. We prioritized these diseases for their candidacy as potential virally implicated diseases based on network topology, and benchmarked this prioritization of candidate diseases using relative risk measurement which depicts population-based clinical associations between candidate diseases and viral infection. Exogenous expression of HPV viral proteins in a human cell line offered evidence for a novel disease pathway that links HPV to Fanconi anemia.
PMCID: PMC3386155  PMID: 22761553
20.  A Virus-Like Particle Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Detects Serum Antibodies in a Majority of Women Infected With Human Papillomavirus Type 16 
Previous studies have demonstrated that genital infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), most often HPV16, is the most significant risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. However, serologic assays that have been developed to identify high-risk HPV infection have either failed to associate serum reactivity with other indicators of HPV infection or have identified only a minority of HPV-infected individuals.
Our purpose was to determine whether a specifically developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) could detect IgG anti-HPV16 virion antibodies in the sera of women who had tested positive for genital HPV16 infection by DNA-based methods.
An ELISA was developed using newly developed HPV16 virus-like particles as antigens to detect anti-HPV16 virion IgG antibodies. These particles are comprised of HPV16 structural proteins that are self-assembled in insect cells after expression by recombinant baculo-viruses. The sera of 122 women, whose HPV status had been previously evaluated by nucleic acid-based methods, were tested by this ELISA.
The sera of 59% of women (32 of 54) positive for genital HPV16 DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were positive in the ELISA assay compared with sera from women who had tested negative for HPV DNA (P<.0005). In contrast, 6% of HPV DNA-negative women (two of 31) and 9% of women positive for low-risk HPV6/11 DNA (one of 11) were ELISA positive by this criterion. The sera of women who were DNA positive for two additional high-risk HPV types were evaluated; the sera of 31% of HPV18-positive (four of 13) and 38% of HPV31-positive women (five of 13) were positive in the HPV16 particle ELISA. The sera of 75% of HPV16 DNA-positive women with severe dysplasias (12 of 16) gave positive ELISA results. The sera of 67% of women (28 of 42) who tested positive for HPV16 DNA by both PCR and the less sensitive ViraType assay tested positive in the ELISA compared with 33% of women (four of 12) who were positive by PCR but negative by ViraType (P<.05).
The majority of women with cervical HPV16 infection generate an IgG antibody response to conformationally dependent epitopes of HPV16 L1 that can be detected by ELISA.
This particular ELISA, or a similar one incorporating virus-like particles of additional HPV types, may be useful in determining the natural history of high-risk HPV infection and perhaps help to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC3935441  PMID: 8133532
21.  DEAR1 Is a Dominant Regulator of Acinar Morphogenesis and an Independent Predictor of Local Recurrence-Free Survival in Early-Onset Breast Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000068.
Ann Killary and colleagues describe a new gene that is genetically altered in breast tumors, and that may provide a new breast cancer prognostic marker.
Breast cancer in young women tends to have a natural history of aggressive disease for which rates of recurrence are higher than in breast cancers detected later in life. Little is known about the genetic pathways that underlie early-onset breast cancer. Here we report the discovery of DEAR1 (ductal epithelium–associated RING Chromosome 1), a novel gene encoding a member of the TRIM (tripartite motif) subfamily of RING finger proteins, and provide evidence for its role as a dominant regulator of acinar morphogenesis in the mammary gland and as an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival in early-onset breast cancer.
Methods and Findings
Suppression subtractive hybridization identified DEAR1 as a novel gene mapping to a region of high-frequency loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in a number of histologically diverse human cancers within Chromosome 1p35.1. In the breast epithelium, DEAR1 expression is limited to the ductal and glandular epithelium and is down-regulated in transition to ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early histologic stage in breast tumorigenesis. DEAR1 missense mutations and homozygous deletion (HD) were discovered in breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples. Introduction of the DEAR1 wild type and not the missense mutant alleles to complement a mutation in a breast cancer cell line, derived from a 36-year-old female with invasive breast cancer, initiated acinar morphogenesis in three-dimensional (3D) basement membrane culture and restored tissue architecture reminiscent of normal acinar structures in the mammary gland in vivo. Stable knockdown of DEAR1 in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) recapitulated the growth in 3D culture of breast cancer cell lines containing mutated DEAR1, in that shDEAR1 clones demonstrated disruption of tissue architecture, loss of apical basal polarity, diffuse apoptosis, and failure of lumen formation. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining of a tissue microarray from a cohort of 123 young female breast cancer patients with a 20-year follow-up indicated that in early-onset breast cancer, DEAR1 expression serves as an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival and correlates significantly with strong family history of breast cancer and the triple-negative phenotype (ER−, PR−, HER-2−) of breast cancers with poor prognosis.
Our data provide compelling evidence for the genetic alteration and loss of expression of DEAR1 in breast cancer, for the functional role of DEAR1 in the dominant regulation of acinar morphogenesis in 3D culture, and for the potential utility of an immunohistochemical assay for DEAR1 expression as an independent prognostic marker for stratification of early-onset disease.
Editors' Summary
Each year, more than one million women discover that they have breast cancer. This type of cancer begins when cells in the breast that line the milk-producing glands or the tubes that take the milk to the nipples (glandular and ductal epithelial cells, respectively) acquire genetic changes that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The uncontrolled division leads to the formation of a lump that can be detected by mammography (a breast X-ray) or by manual breast examination. Breast cancer is treated by surgical removal of the lump or, if the cancer has started to spread, by removal of the whole breast (mastectomy). Surgery is usually followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These “adjuvant” therapies are designed to kill any remaining cancer cells but can make patients very ill. Generally speaking, the outlook for women with breast cancer is good. In the US, for example, nearly 90% of affected women are still alive five years after their diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although breast cancer is usually diagnosed in women in their 50s or 60s, some women develop breast cancer much earlier. In these women, the disease is often very aggressive. Compared to older women, young women with breast cancer have a lower overall survival rate and their cancer is more likely to recur locally or to metastasize. It would be useful to be able to recognize those younger women at the greatest risk of cancer recurrence so that they could be offered intensive surveillance and adjuvant therapy; those women at a lower risk could have gentler treatments. To achieve this type of “stratification,” the genetic changes that underlie breast cancer in young women need to be identified. In this study, the researchers discover a gene that is genetically altered (by mutations or deletion) in early-onset breast cancer and then investigate whether its expression can predict outcomes in women with this disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used “suppression subtractive hybridization” to identify a new gene in a region of human Chromosome 1 where loss of heterozygosity (LOH; a genetic alteration associated with cancer development) frequently occurs. They called the gene DEAR1 (ductal epithelium-associated RING Chromosome 1) to indicate that it is expressed in ductal and glandular epithelial cells and encodes a “RING finger” protein (specifically, a subtype called a TRIM protein; RING finger proteins such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been implicated in early cancer development and in a large fraction of inherited breast cancers). DEAR1 expression was reduced or lost in several ductal carcinomas in situ (a local abnormality that can develop into breast cancer) and advanced breast cancers, the researchers report. Furthermore, many breast tumors carried DEAR1 missense mutations (genetic changes that interfere with the normal function of the DEAR1 protein) or had lost both copies of DEAR1 (the human genome contains two copies of most genes). To determine the function of DEAR1, the researchers replaced a normal copy of DEAR1 into a breast cancer cell that had a mutation in DEAR1. They then examined the growth of these genetically manipulated cells in special three-dimensional cultures. The breast cancer cells without DEAR1 grew rapidly without an organized structure while the breast cancer cells containing the introduced copy of DEAR1 formed structures that resembled normal breast acini (sac-like structures that secrete milk). In normal human mammary epithelial cells, the researchers silenced DEAR1 expression and also showed that without DEAR1, the normal mammary cells lost their ability to form proper acini. Finally, the researchers report that DEAR1 expression (detected “immunohistochemically”) was frequently lost in women who had had early-onset breast cancer and that the loss of DEAR1 expression correlated with reduced local recurrence-free survival, a strong family history of breast cancer and with a breast cancer subtype that has a poor outcome.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that genetic alteration and loss of expression of DEAR1 are common in breast cancer. Although laboratory experiments may not necessarily reflect what happens in people, the results from the three-dimensional culture of breast epithelial cells suggest that DEAR1 may regulate the normal acinar structure of the breast. Consequently, loss of DEAR1 expression could be an early event in breast cancer development. Most importantly, the correlation between DEAR1 expression and both local recurrence in early-onset breast cancer and a breast cancer subtype with a poor outcome suggests that it might be possible to use DEAR1 expression to identify women with early-onset breast cancer who have an increased risk of local recurrence so that they get the most appropriate treatment for their cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Senthil Muthuswamy
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of breast cancer, including information on genetic alterations in breast cancer (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia provides information for patients about breast cancer; MedlinePlus also provides links to many other breast cancer resources (in English and Spanish)
The UK charities Cancerbackup (now merged with MacMillan Cancer Support) and Cancer Research UK also provide detailed information about breast cancer
PMCID: PMC2673042  PMID: 19536326
22.  Mechanism of Genomic Instability in Cells Infected with the High-Risk Human Papillomaviruses 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(4):e1000397.
In HPV–related cancers, the “high-risk” human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are frequently found integrated into the cellular genome. The integrated subgenomic HPV fragments express viral oncoproteins and carry an origin of DNA replication that is capable of initiating bidirectional DNA re-replication in the presence of HPV replication proteins E1 and E2, which ultimately leads to rearrangements within the locus of the integrated viral DNA. The current study indicates that the E1- and E2-dependent DNA replication from the integrated HPV origin follows the “onion skin”–type replication mode and generates a heterogeneous population of replication intermediates. These include linear, branched, open circular, and supercoiled plasmids, as identified by two-dimensional neutral-neutral gel-electrophoresis. We used immunofluorescence analysis to show that the DNA repair/recombination centers are assembled at the sites of the integrated HPV replication. These centers recruit viral and cellular replication proteins, the MRE complex, Ku70/80, ATM, Chk2, and, to some extent, ATRIP and Chk1 (S317). In addition, the synthesis of histone γH2AX, which is a hallmark of DNA double strand breaks, is induced, and Chk2 is activated by phosphorylation in the HPV–replicating cells. These changes suggest that the integrated HPV replication intermediates are processed by the activated cellular DNA repair/recombination machinery, which results in cross-chromosomal translocations as detected by metaphase FISH. We also confirmed that the replicating HPV episomes that expressed the physiological levels of viral replication proteins could induce genomic instability in the cells with integrated HPV. We conclude that the HPV replication origin within the host chromosome is one of the key factors that triggers the development of HPV–associated cancers. It could be used as a starting point for the “onion skin”–type of DNA replication whenever the HPV plasmid exists in the same cell, which endangers the host genomic integrity during the initial integration and after the de novo infection.
Author Summary
High-risk human papillomavirus infection can cause several types of cancers. During the normal virus life cycle, these viruses maintain their genomes as multicopy nuclear plasmids in infected cells. However, in cancer cells, the viral plasmids are lost, which leaves one of the HPV genomes to be integrated into the genome of the host cell. We suggest that the viral integration and the coexistence of episomal and integrated HPV genomes in the same cell play key roles in early events that lead to the formation of HPV–dependent cancer cells. We show that HPV replication proteins expressed at the physiological level from the viral extrachromosomal genome are capable of replicating episomal and integrated HPV simultaneously. Unscheduled replication of the integrated HPV induces a variety of changes in the host genome, such as excision, repair, recombination, and amplification, which also involve the flanking cellular DNA. As a result, genomic modifications occur, which could have a role in reprogramming the HPV–infected cells that leads to the development of cancer. We believe that the mechanism described in this study may reflect the underlying processes that take place in the genome of the HPV–infected cells and may also play a role in the formation of other types of cancers.
PMCID: PMC2666264  PMID: 19390600
23.  Human papillomavirus genotyping and integration in ovarian cancer Saudi patients 
Virology Journal  2013;10:343.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with different malignancies but its role in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer is controversial. This study investigated the prevalence, genotyping and physical state of HPV in ovarian cancer Saudi patients.
Hundred formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) ovarian carcinoma tissues and their normal adjacent tissues (NAT) were included in the study. HPV was detected by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using degenerated HPVL1 consensus primer pairs MY09/MY11 and GP5+/GP6 + to amplify a broad spectrum of HPV genotypes in a single reaction. The HPV positive samples were further genotyped using DNA sequencing. The physical state of the virus was identified using Amplification of Papillomavirus Oncogene Transcripts (APOT) assay in the samples positive for HPV16 and/or HPV18.
High percentage of HPV (42%) was observed in ovarian carcinoma compared to 8% in the NAT. The high-risk HPV types 16, 18 and 45 were highly associated with the advanced stages of tumor, while low-risk types 6 and 11 were present in NAT. In malignant tissues, HPV-16 was the most predominant genotype followed by HPV-18 and -45. The percentage of viral integration into the host genome was significantly high (61.1%) compared to 38.9% episomal in HPV positive tumors tissues. In HPV18 genotype the percentage of viral integration was 54.5% compared to 45.5% episomal.
The high risk HPV genotypes in ovarian cancer may indicate its role in ovarian carcinogenesis. The HPV vaccination is highly recommended to reduce this type of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3842654  PMID: 24252426
DNA sequencing; Formalin paraffin embedded tissue; Human papilloma virus; Ovarian cancer; Polymerase chain reaction
24.  Prevalence of human papillomavirus in young Italian women with normal cytology: how should we adapt the national vaccination policy? 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:575.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In Italy, HPV vaccination is now offered free of charge to 12-year-old females. However, some regional health authorities have extended free vaccination to other age-groups, especially to girls under 18 years of age. We conducted a multicentre epidemiological study to ascertain the prevalence of different genotypes of HPV in young Italian women with normal cytology, with the aim of evaluating the possibility of extending vaccination to older females.
The study was performed in 2010. Women aged 16–26 years with normal cytology were studied. Cervical samples were analyzed to identify the presence of HPV by PCR amplification of a segment of ORF L1 (450 bp). All positive HPV-DNA samples underwent viral genotype analysis by means of a restriction fragment length polymorphism assay.
Positivity for at least one HPV genotype was found in 18.2% of the 566 women recruited: 48.1% in the 16–17 age-class, 15.4 in the 18–20 age-class, 21.9% in the 21–23 age-class, and 15.5% in the 24–26 age-class; 10.1% of women were infected by at least one high-risk HPV genotype. HPV-16 was the most prevalent genotype. Only 4 (0.7%), 4 (0.7%) and 3 (0.5%) women were infected by HPV-18, HPV-6 and HPV-11, respectively. Of the HPV-DNA-positive women, 64.1% presented only one viral genotype, while 24.3% had multiple infections. The HPV genotypes most often involved in multiple infections were high-risk. A high prevalence was noted in the first years of sexual activity (48.1% of HPV-DNA-positive women aged 16–17 years); HPV prevalence subsequently declined and stabilized.
The estimate of cumulative proportions of young women free from any HPV infection at each age was evaluated; 93.3% and 97.1% of 26 year-old women proved free from HPV-16 and/or HPV-18 and from HPV-6 and/or HPV-11, respectively.
Our findings confirm the crucial importance of conducting studies on women without cytological damage, in order to optimise and up-date preventive interventions against HPV infection, and suggest that vaccinating 26-year-old females at the time of their first pap-test is to be recommend, though this issue should be further explored.
PMCID: PMC4029487  PMID: 24313984
Papillomavirus; HPV; Cervical cancer prevention; Vaccination; HPV epidemiology; Young women
25.  Prevalence of human cytomegalovirus, polyomaviruses, and oncogenic viruses in glioblastoma among Japanese subjects 
The association between human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is becoming a new concept. However, information on the geographic variability of HCMV prevalence in GBM remains scarce. Moreover, the potential roles of various viruses, such as polyomaviruses and oncogenic viruses, in gliomagenesis remain unclear. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of HCMV in GBM among Japanese patients. Furthermore, this was the first study that evaluated infection with four new human polyomaviruses in GBMs. This study also provided the first data on the detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) in GBM in the Eastern world.
We measured the number of various viral genomes in GBM samples from 39 Japanese patients using real-time quantitative PCR. The tested viruses included HCMV, Merkel cell polyomavirus, human polyomavirus (HPyV) 6, HPyV7, HPyV9, Epstein–Barr virus, human herpesvirus 8, and HPV. Our quantitative PCR analysis led to the detection of eight copies of the HCMV DNA mixed with DNA extracted from 104 HCMV-negative cells. The presence of HCMV and HPV genomes was also assessed by nested PCR. Immunohistochemical study was also carried out to detect HPV-derived protein in GBM tissues.
The viral DNAs were not detectable, with the exception of HPV, which was present in eight out of 39 (21%) GBMs. All HPV-positive cases harbored high-risk-type HPV (HPV16 and HPV18). Moreover, the HPV major capsid protein was detected in GBM tumor cells.
In contrast with previous reports from Caucasian patients, we did not obtain direct evidence in support of the association between HCMV and GBM. However, high-risk-type HPV infection may play a potential etiological role in gliomagenesis in a subset of patients. These findings should prompt further worldwide epidemiological studies aimed at defining the pathogenicity of virus-associated GBM.
PMCID: PMC4328287
Oncogenic viruses; HCMV; HPV; Polyomaviruses; Glioblastoma; Epidemiology

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