Antibodies to human papillomavirus 16 L1 virus-like particles as an independent prognostic marker in cervical cancer


      Objective: Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types such as HPV-16 is a major risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. HPV-16 capsid antibodies are detectable in approximately 50% of patients with HPV-16 DNA-positive cervical cancer. We investigated the prognostic significance of HPV capsid antibodies for survival in patients with cervical cancer in comparison with conventional clinicopathologic features such as staging, histologic grading, histology, age, and treatment modality. Study design: Serum samples from 68 patients with cervical cancer and 65 healthy female control subjects were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for HPV-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to baculovirus expressed HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16, and HPV-18 L1 virus-like particles (VLPs). Results: HPV-16 L1 IgG antibodies were detectable in 6 of 65 (9%) of the control subjects and in 19 of 68 (28%) of the patients with cervical cancer (P = .007). In the subgroup of patients with HPV-16 DNA-positive cervical cancer (comprising 50% of the investigated samples), HPV-16 L1 antibodies were detected in 40%. HPV-16 L1 seropositivity was in univariate and multivariate analysis in addition to International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage, the only independent positive prognostic factor for overall survival (P = .01). Conclusion: Antibodies to HPV-16 L1 were found to be an independent prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with cervical cancer. Thus, HPV-16 infection may be involved not only in oncogenesis but also in tumor development and behavior. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002;186:705-11.)


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