Comparative Study
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Type-dependent integration frequency of human papillomavirus genomes in cervical lesions.

Cancer Research 2008 January 2
Chromosomal integration of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) genomes is believed to represent a significant event in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer associated with progression from preneoplastic lesions to invasive carcinomas. This hypothesis is based on experimental data suggesting that integration-dependent disruption of HR-HPV E2 gene functions is important to achieve neoplastic transformation and on clinical data gathered by analyzing lesions induced by human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 and 18 that revealed integrated viral genome copies in the vast majority of cervical cancer cells. However, a substantial fraction of cervical cancers is associated with other HR-HPV types for which virtually no data concerning their integration status have been reported so far. Here, we compared integration frequencies of the five most common oncogenic HPV types (HPV16, 18, 31, 33, and 45) in a series of 835 cervical samples using a specific mRNA-based PCR assay (Amplification of Papillomavirus Oncogene Transcripts). Most precancerous lesions displayed exclusively episomal viral genomes, whereas 62% of the carcinomas had integrated viral genomes. However, the frequency of integrated HR-HPV genomes showed marked differences for individual HR-HPV types. HPV16, 18, and 45 were found substantially more often in the integrated state compared with HPV types 31 and 33. The analysis of the median age of patients with high-grade precancerous lesions and invasive cancers suggests that precancers induced by HPV types 18, 16, and 45 progress to invasive cervical cancer in substantially less time compared with precancers induced by HPV types 31 and 33. These findings suggest that integration of oncogenic HPV genomes in cervical lesions is a consequence rather than the cause of chromosomal instability induced by deregulated HR-HPV E6-E7 oncogene expression. Distinct HR-HPV types apparently provoke chromosomal instability in their host cells to a different extent than is reflected by their integration frequencies in advanced lesions and the time required for CIN 3 lesions to progress to invasive cancer.

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