Human papillomavirus (HPV) RNA levels may be a more sensitive early indicator of predisposition to carcinogenesis than DNA levels. We evaluated whether levels of HPV-16 and HPV-18 DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) in newly detected infections are associated with cervical lesion development. Female university students were recruited from 1990-2004. Cervical samples for HPV DNA, HPV mRNA, and Papanicolaou testing were collected tri-annually, and women were referred for colposcopically-directed biopsy when indicated. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of L1 and E7 DNA and E7 mRNA was performed on samples from women with HPV-16 and HPV-18 infections that were incidently detected by consensus PCR. Adjusting for other HPV types, increasing E7 cervical HPV-16 mRNA levels at the time of incident HPV-16 DNA detection were associated with an increased risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 to 3 (HR per 1 log10 increase in mRNA=6.36,95%CI=2.00-20.23). Increasing HPV-16 mRNA levels were also associated with an increased risk of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions; the risk was highest at the incident positive visit and decreased over time. Neither HPV-16 E7 DNA levels nor HPV-18 E7 DNA nor mRNA levels were significantly associated with cervical lesion development. Report of >1 new partner in the past 8 months (relative to no new partners) was associated with increased HPV mRNA (viral level ratio [VLR]=10.05,95%CI=1.09-92.56) and increased HPV DNA (VLR=16.80,95%CI=1.46-193.01). In newly detected HPV-16 infections, increasing levels of E7 mRNA appear to be associated with an increased risk of developing cervical pre-cancer.
HPV; viral load; mRNA; cervical pre-cancer
Variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 31 have been shown to be related both to risk of cervical lesions and racial composition of a population. It is largely undetermined whether variants differ in their likelihood of persistence. Study subjects were women who participated in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study and who had a newly detected HPV31 infection during a 2-year follow-up with 6-month intervals. HPV31 isolates were characterized by sequencing and assigned to 1 of 3 variant lineages. Loss of the newly detected HPV31 infection was detected in 76 (47.5%) of the 160 women (32/67 with A variants, 16/27 with B variants, and 28/66 with C variants). The adjusted hazard ratio associating loss of the infection was 1.2 (95% CI, 0.7–2.1) for women with A variants and 2.1 (95% CI, 1.2–3.5) for women with B variants as compared to those with C variants. Infections with A and C variants were detected in 50 and 41 Caucasian women and in 15 and 23 African-American women, respectively. The likelihood of clearance of the infection was significantly lower in African-American women with C variants than in African-American women with A variants (P=0.05). There was no difference in the likelihood of clearance between A and C variants among Caucasian women. Our data indicated that infections with B variants were more likely to resolve than those with C variants. The difference in clearance of A versus C variants in African-Americans but not in Caucasians suggests a possibility of the race-related influence in retaining the variant-specific infection.
Human Papillomavirus; Variants; Persistence
The epidemiology of high-risk (hr) HPV infections in mid-adult women with new sex partners is undefined.
We analyzed baseline data from 518 25–65 year old female online daters. Women were mailed questionnaires and kits for self-collecting vaginal specimens for PCR-based hrHPV testing. Risk factors for infection were identified using Poisson regression models to obtain prevalence ratios (PRs).
The prevalence of hrHPV infection was 35.9%. In multivariate analysis restricted to sexually active women, the likelihood of hrHPV infection was associated with abnormal Pap test history (PR=1.42, 95% CI:1.10–1.84), lifetime number of sex partners >14 (relative to 1–4; PR=2.13, 95% CI:1.13–4.02 for 15–24 partners and PR=1.91, 95% CI:1.00–3.64 for ≥25 partners), male partners with ≥1 concurrent partnership (PR=1.34, 95% CI:1.05–1.71) and male partners whom the subject met online (PR=1.39, 95% CI:1.08–1.79). Age was inversely associated with infection only in women who were sexually inactive (PR=0.67 per 5-year age difference, adjusted for Pap history and lifetime number of partners). Compared to sexually inactive women, the likelihood of infection increased with increasing risk level, (from low-risk to high-risk partners) (p<.0001 by trend test). In multivariate analysis, infection with multiple versus single hrHPV types was inversely associated with ever having been pregnant (PR=0.64, 95% CI:0.46–0.90) and recent consistent condom use (PR=0.56, 95% CI:0.32–0.97), and positively associated with genital wart history (PR=1.43, 95% CI:1.03–1.99).
Measures of both cumulative and recent sexual history were associated with prevalent hrHPV infection in this high-risk cohort of mid-adult women.
HPV; human papilloma virus; mid-adult; prevalence; risk factors
To determine prevalence of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among men in rural China, we analyzed genital swab specimens. Among 2,236 male residents of rural Henan Province, HPV infection prevalence was 17.5%. The most common oncogenic and nononcogenic types were HPV-16 and HPV-3, respectively. Infection was associated with younger age and multiple sex partners.
HPV; men; China; viruses; genital infection; human papillomavirus
Background. Viral load may influence the course of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) infection.
Methods. This case-control study was nested within the 2-year Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance and Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion Triage Study, in which women were followed semiannually for HPV and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Case patients (n = 62) were women diagnosed with CIN3 following HPV-16–positive detection at a follow-up visit. HPV-16–positive controls (n = 152) without CIN2 or CIN3 were matched to cases based on the follow-up visit in which viral load was measured. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used for HPV-16 DNA quantification.
Results. The risk of CIN3 increased with increasing HPV-16 DNA load at the follow-up visit (odds ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.33–1.99 per 1 log10 unit increase); the association was not affected by whether HPV-16 was present at enrollment. When HPV-16 was present at both enrollment and follow-up, viral load remained high among cases (P = .77) but decreased substantially among controls (P = .004). Among women with HPV-16 found initially during follow-up, viral load in the first HPV-16–positive sample was associated with short-term persistence; load was higher in those with infection, compared with those without infection, 1 visit after the initial positivity (P = .001).
Conclusions. Viral load of newly detected infections and changes in viral load predict persistence and progression of HPV-16 infections.
Characterizing short-term detection patterns of young women’s incident alpha-genus human papillomavirus (HPV) infections may further understanding of HPV transmission.
Between 2000–2007, we followed 18–22 year old female university students with triannual HPV DNA and Papanicolau testing. Using Kaplan-Meier methods, we estimated: duration of detectable, type-specific incident infections; time to re-detection (among infections that became undetectable); and time to cervical lesion development after incident infection. We evaluated risk factors for short-term persistent versus transient infection with logistic regression.
303 incident type-specific infections were detected in 85 sexually active women. Median time to first negative test after incident infection was 9.4 (95%CI:7.8–11.2) months; 90.6% of infections became undetectable within two years. 19.4% of infections that became undetectable were re-detected within one year. Cervical lesions were common, and 60% were positive for multiple HPV types in concurrent cervical swabs. Incident HPV detection in the cervix only (versus the vulva/vagina only or both sites) was associated with short-term transience.
While most incident infections became undetectable within two years, re-detection was not uncommon. Cervical lesions were a common early manifestation of HPV infection.
It remains unclear whether potentially modifiable risk factors can be identified to reduce infection duration (and transmission likelihood).
human papillomavirus; incidence; duration; persistence; women; epidemiology
Prospective studies of the persistence of human papilloma-virus (HPV) variants are rare and typically small. We sequenced HPV-16 variants in longitudinal pairs of specimens from 86 women enrolled in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study. A change of variants was identified in 4 women (4.7% [95% confidence interval, 1.3%-11.5%]). Among women with intervening HPV results (n = 60), a variant switch occurred in 2 of 11 who had evidence of intervening negativity for HPV-16, compared with 1 of 49 who consistently tested positive (P = .11). These results suggest the possibility that rare misclassification of transient infections as persistent infections occurs in natural history studies of type-specific HPV infections.
Little is known about detection of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) types in women’s fingertips. The study objectives were to determine the presence of genital HPV types in fingertip samples and agreement between fingertip and genital samples for detecting HPV.
At tri-annual visits, genital and fingertip samples were collected from female university students and tested for 37 HPV genotypes by PCR-based assay. Type-specific concordance between paired fingertip and genital samples was evaluated using a kappa statistic for percent positive agreement (“kappa +”). Paired samples with type-specific concordant fingertip and genital results were selected for variant characterization.
A total of 357 fingertip samples were collected from 128 women. HPV prevalence in fingertip samples was 14.3%. Although percent positive agreement between fingertips and genitals for detecting type-specific HPV was low (17.8%; kappa+=0.17, 95%CI:0.10–0.25), 60.4% of type-specific HPV detected in the fingertips was detected in a concurrent genital sample. All but one of 28 paired concordant samples were positive for the same type-specific variant in the fingertip and genital sample. Re-detection of HPV types at the subsequent visit was more common in genital samples (73.3%) than in fingertip samples (14.5%) (p<.001).
Detection of genital HPV types in the fingertips was not uncommon. While impossible to distinguish between deposition of DNA from the genitals to the fingertips and true fingertip infection, the rarity of repeat detection in the fingertips suggests that deposition is more common.
Finger-genital transmission is plausible, but unlikely to be a significant source of genital HPV infection.
human papillomavirus; fingertip; genital; women; epidemiology
Studies of viral load-related persistence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are rare, with inconsistent results reported.
Study subjects were 741 and 289 women who were positive for HPV16 and HPV18, respectively, at enrollment into in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study and who returned one or more times for HPV testing during a biannual 2-year follow-up. Baseline HPV16 and HPV18 copies per nanogram of cellular DNA were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Women with, compared to without, persistent infection at month 6 had higher viral load at enrollment (P<0.001 for HPV16; P=0.01 for HPV18). The association of per 1 log10-unit increase in viral load with the first 6-month persistence of HPV16 or HPV18 was statistically significant among women with multiple types at enrollment (OR=1.53, 95% CI, 1.29–1.82 for HPV16; OR=1.35, 95% CI, 1.09–1.68 for HPV18) but not among those with mono-type infections (test for interaction between viral load and coinfection: P=0.002 for HPV16; P=0.34 for HPV18). Among women who continued to be positive at month 6, 12, or 18, persisting for another 6 months was unrelated to baseline viral load.
Higher viral load of prevalent HPV16 or HPV18 infection was associated with short- but not long-term persistence.
Human Papillomavirus; Viral Load; Persistence
Although cigarette smoking has been associated with increased human papillomavirus (HPV) detection, its impact on HPV DNA load is unknown.
Study subjects were women who were positive for HPV16 and/or HPV18 at enrollment into the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study. Assessments of exposure to smoke and sexual behavior were based on self-report. Viral genome copies per nanogram of cellular DNA were measured by multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction. Linear or logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between cigarette smoking and baseline viral load.
Of 1,050 women (752 with HPV16, 258 with HPV18, and 40 with both HPV16 and HPV18), 452 (43.0%) were current smokers and 101 (9.6%) were former smokers at enrollment. Baseline viral load was statistically significantly greater for current, compared to never, smokers (P = 0.03 for HPV16; P = 0.02 for HPV18), but not for former smokers. Among current smokers, neither HPV16 nor HPV18 DNA load appeared to vary appreciably by age of smoking initiation, smoking intensity or smoking duration. Results remained similar, when the analysis of smoking-related HPV16 DNA load was restricted to women without detectable cervical abnormality.
Higher baseline HPV16 and HPV18 DNA load was associated with status as a current but not former smoker. A lack of dose-response relationship between cigarette smoking and viral load may indicate a low threshold for the effect of smoking on HPV DNA load.
Human Papillomavirus; Viral Load; cigarette smoking
Intratypic diversity of human papillomavirus (HPV) genome is generally characterized by point mutation, insertion, and/or deletion. Using PCR-based cloning and sequencing, we detected concurrent infection with 8 HPV16 variants in a woman enrolled in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study. The European variant was the major variant; each of the seven minor variants had partial DNA sequences identical to the European variant and another part identical to the African-2 variant. At a follow-up visit, only an HPV16 African-2 variant was detected. Results from the present study suggest presence of intratypic recombination of HPV genome in natural infection.
human papillomavirus; recombination; variant
Epidemiological studies suggest that human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected women who smoke face an increased risk for developing cervical cancer. We have previously reported that exposure of HPV-positive organotypic cultures to benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a major carcinogen in cigarette smoke, resulted in enhanced viral titers. Since BaP is known to deregulate multiple pathways of cellular proliferation, enhanced virion synthesis could result from carcinogen/host cell interaction. Here, we report that BaP-mediated upregulation of virus synthesis is correlated to an altered balance between cell cycle-specific cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) activity profile compared with controls. Specifically, BaP treatment increased accumulation of hyperphosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (pRb) which coincided with increased cdc2/CDK1 kinase activity, but which further conflicted with the simultaneous upregulation of CDK inhibitors p16INK4 and p27KIP1, which normally mediate pRb hypophosphorylation. In contrast, p21WAF1 and p53 levels remained unchanged. Under these conditions, CDK6 and CDK2 kinase activities were decreased, whereas CDK4 kinase activity remained unchanged. The addition of purvalanol A, a specific inhibitor of CDK1 kinase, to BaP-treated cultures, resulted in the production of noninfectious HPV type 31b (HPV31b) particles. In contrast, infectivity of control virus was unaffected by purvalanol A treatment. BaP targeting of CDK1 occurred independently of HPV status, since BaP treatment also increased CDK1 activity in tissues derived from primary keratinocytes. Our data indicate that HPV31b virions synthesized in the presence of BaP were dependent on BaP-mediated alteration in CDK1 kinase activity for maintaining their infectivity.
Infection with multiple human papillomavirus (HPV) types is common. However, it is unknown whether viral DNA load is related to the coexistence of other types.
Study subjects were 802 and 303 women who were positive for HPV16 and HPV18, respectively, at enrollment into the Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance and Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion Triage Study. HPV16 and HPV18 E7 copies per nanogram of cellular DNA in cervical swab samples were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction in triplicate.
Concurrent coinfection was common in this population of women with minor cervical lesions; multiple HPV types were detected in 573 (71.4%) of 802 HPV16-positive women and 227 (74.9%) of 303 HPV18-positive women. The adjusted odds ratio associating coinfection with per 1 log unit increase in HPV16 DNA load was 0.78 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.68-0.89); it was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.52-0.79) for a similar analysis of HPV18 DNA load. Women with, compared to without, coinfection of A9 species possessed a significantly lower HPV16 DNA load (p < 0.001) whereas women with, compared to without, coinfection of A7 species types possessed a significantly lower HPV18 DNA load (p = 0.001). A trend of decrease in HPV16 DNA load with increasing number of the coexisting non-HPV16 A9 species types was statistically significant (p for trend = 0.001).
Coinfection with other types was associated with lower HPV16 and HPV18 DNA load. The extent of reduction was correlated to phylogenetic distance of the coexisting types to HPV16 and HPV18, respectively.
Human Papillomavirus; Viral Load; Coinfection
The clinical relevance of the amount of human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV18) DNA in cervical tissue (ie, HPV18 DNA load) is unknown.
Study subjects were 303 women who were HPV18 positive at enrollment into the Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASC-US) and Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (LSIL) Triage Study. HPV18 DNA load, expressed as copies of HPV18 per nanogram of cellular DNA, at enrollment was quantitatively measured. Subjects were followed up semiannually for a period of 2 years for detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2–3 (CIN2–3). A linear regression model was used to examine associations of CIN2–3 with HPV18 DNA load. All statistical tests were two-sided.
CIN2–3 was confirmed in 92 of 303 (30.4%) HPV18-positive women. Among women without CIN2–3, HPV18 DNA load was positively associated with increasing severity of cervical cytology at enrollment (Ptrend < .001). However, among those with CIN2–3, HPV18 DNA load was not associated with severity of cervical cytology at enrollment (Ptrend = .33). The ratios of geometric means of HPV18 DNA load at enrollment among women with CIN2–3, relative to those without, were 6.06 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.31 to 117.92) for those with normal cytology at enrollment, 0.50 (95% CI = 0.10 to 2.44) for those with ASC-US, 0.11 (95% CI = 0.03 to 0.46) for those with LSIL, and 0.07 (95% CI = 0.01 to 0.80) for those with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL). After adjusting for age and coinfection with other high-risk HPVs, a statistically significant association of lower HPV18 DNA load with CIN2–3 was observed among women with LSIL or HSIL at enrollment (P = .02). Within the 2-year period, HPV18 DNA load was unrelated to the timing of CIN2–3 diagnosis. Overall results were similar when the outcome was CIN3.
HPV18 DNA load was higher for women with LSIL or HSIL at enrollment with no evidence of CIN2–3 during the 2-year follow-up period than it was for women with CIN2–3. Thus, testing for high levels of HPV18 DNA does not appear to be clinically useful.
Although correlations of cervical cytology to human papillomavirus (HPV) load and histopathology are recognized, it is largely undetermined whether viral load-related risks of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia III (CIN3) differ by cytology.
Study subjects were 821 women enrolled in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study who were positive for HPV16 at entry. Women were followed semi-annually over 2 years. Baseline HPV16 load was measured by real-time PCR; expressed as log10 [HPV16 copies per-nanogram of cellular DNA].
CIN3 was confirmed in 34.8% of 821 women during 2-year follow-up. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) associating 2-year cumulative risk of CIN3 with per log10–unit increase in HPV16 load was 1.46 (95%CI, 1.29-1.64). The ORs varied from 1.66 (95%CI, 1.16-2.37) for women with normal cytology at enrollment to 0.86 (95%CI, 0.61-1.20) for those with HSIL. Among women with normal cytology at enrollment, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for detecting CIN3 by viral load was 0.70 (95%CI, 0.61-0.78).
HPV16 DNA load was associated with CIN3 risk but the associations varied with cytology detected at the time when the viral load was measured. Clinical utility of testing for HPV16 load for CIN3 detection was minimal even in women with normal cytology.
Human Papillomavirus; Viral load; Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
Given that the integration of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) into the host genome occurs preferentially with the disruption of the E2 gene, a ratio of E2 to E7 gene copies is often used as a marker for integration. It is largely undetermined, however, whether ratio estimates are affected by HPV intratypic variations. We assembled four plasmid constructs, each containing a DNA fragment from an HPV16 European, Asian-American, African-1, or African-2 variant. These constructs and nine cervical swab samples were assayed by real-time PCR with two primer-probe sets for each gene: a specific set, fully complementary to the HPV16 prototype, and a degenerate set, incorporating degenerate bases at positions where nucleotides differed among the variants. The ratio of E2 to E7 gene copies for the European variant construct was close to 1, no matter which sets of primers and probes were used. While the ratios for the African-1 and Asian-American variant constructs remained close to 1 with the degenerate sets of primers and probes, the ratios were 0.36 and 2.57, respectively, with the specific sets of primers and probes. In addition, a nucleotide alteration at the position immediately following the 3′ end of the E2 forward primer binding site was found to be responsible for an underestimation of E2 gene copies for the African-2 variant construct. Similar patterns were found in nine cervical samples. In conclusion, mismatches between the primers and probes and their targets due to HPV16 intratypic variations would introduce errors in testing for integration; this situation can be sufficiently ameliorated by incorporating degenerate bases into the primers and probes.
Epithelial defensins including human β-defensins (hBDs) and α-defensins (HDs) are antimicrobial peptides that play important roles in the mucosal defense system. However, the role of defensins in papillomavirus induced epithelial lesions is unknown.
Papilloma tissues were prospectively collected from 15 patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) and analyzed for defensins and chemokine IL-8 expression by quantitative, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays. HBD-1, -2 and -3 mRNAs were detectable in papilloma samples from all RRP patients and the levels were higher than in normal oral mucosal tissues from healthy individuals. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that both hBD-1 and 2 were localized in the upper epithelial layers of papilloma tissues. Expression of hBD-2 and hBD-3 appeared to be correlated as indicated by scatter plot analysis (r = 0.837, p < 0.01) suggesting that they were co-inducible in papillomavirus induced lesions. Unlike hBDs, only low levels of HD5 and HD6 were detectable in papillomas and in oral mucosa.
Human β-defensins are upregulated in respiratory papillomas. This novel finding suggests that hBDs might contribute to innate and adaptive immune responses targeted against papillomavirus-induced epithelial lesions.
PCR-based variant-specific hybridization (VSH) and single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analyses were compared for their capacities to detect mixed human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) variant infections within clinical specimens. The SSCP assay used in this comparison targets a 682-bp fragment that spans nucleotides 7445 to 222 within the HPV-16 genome. This fragment includes portions of the HPV-16 long control region and the E6 open reading frame and identifies three categories of SSCP patterns: those identical to the patterns of prototype HPV-16 (P), those identical to the patterns of Caski-derived HPV-16 (C), or those that are different from the P and C HPV-16 patterns and that are therefore classified as belonging to novel (N) HPV-16 variants. VSH targets the entire HPV-16 E6-coding region (nucleotides 56 to 640) and distinguishes previously described variant nucleotides at positions 109, 131, 132, 143, 145, 178, 286, 289, 350, 403, and 532. Clinical samples used in VSH and SSCP analyses were subjected to multiple independent amplification reactions. The resultant amplicons were cloned, and 14 to 78 clones per clinical specimen were evaluated by VSH. VSH detected an HPV-16 variant that represented at least 20% of the amplified HPV-16 variant population. In contrast, SSCP analysis detected HPV-16 variants that represented 36% of the amplified HPV-16 population. Comparison studies were conducted with mixed HPV-16 variant laboratory constructs. Again, VSH had a higher sensitivity than SSCP analysis in detecting mixed HPV-16 variant infections in these constructed amplicon targets. Accurate detection of HPV-16 variants may enhance our understanding of the natural history of HPV-16 infections.
The clinical relevance of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) DNA methylation has not been well documented, although its role in modulation of viral transcription is recognized.
Study subjects were 211 women attending Planned Parenthood clinics in Western Washington for routine Papanicolaou screening who were HPV16 positive at the screening and/or subsequent colposcopy visit. Methylation of 11 CpG dinucleotides in the 3′ end of the long control region of the HPV16 genome was examined by sequencing the cloned polymerase chain reaction products. The association between risk of CIN2/3 and degree of CpG methylation was estimated using a logistic regression model.
CIN2/3 was histologically confirmed in 94 (44.5%) of 211 HPV16 positive women. The likelihood of being diagnosed as CIN2/3 increased significantly with decreasing numbers of methylated CpGs (meCpGs) in the 3′ end of the long control region (Pfor trend = 0.003). After adjusting for HPV16 variants, number of HPV16-positive visits, current smoking status and lifetime number of male sex partners, the odds ratio for the association of CIN2/3 with ≥4 meCpGs was 0.31 (95% confidence interval, 0.12–0.79). The proportion of ≥4 meCpGs decreased appreciably as the severity of the cervical lesion increased (Pfor trend = 0.001). The inverse association remained similar when CIN3 was used as the clinical endpoint. Although not statistically significant, the ≥4 meCpGs-related risk reduction was more substantial among current, as compared to noncurrent, smokers.
Results suggest that degree of the viral genome methylation is related to the outcome of an HPV16 cervical infection.