Herpesviruses as possible cofactors in HPV-16-related oncogenesis*
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Cervical carcinogenesis is a complex problem with papillomavirus widely accepted as a causative agent. Integration of a human papillomavirus (HPV) of the high-risk type into the host cell genome is one of the major contributing factors to cervical malignant transformation. In this study, the correlation of CMV, EBV, HSV-1, HSV-2, HHV-6 and HHV-7 infections with the physical status of the HPV genome in cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions was investigated in sixty HPV-16-positive women. Cervical secretion samples were submitted to DNA extraction and analyzed by PCR. HPV-16 DNA was confirmed in genotyping with the reverse hybridization line probe assay. Multiplex PCR with specific primers for the E2/E6 genes was used to assess the viral integration status of HPV-16. Our results show that CMV DNA was more frequently present in samples with mixed forms of HPV-16 than in the episomal form (P < 0.025). Such a correlation was also observed in the case of EBV (P < 0.005). The presence of CMV resulted in a six-fold (OR 6.069; 95% CI 1.91-19.22; P = 0.002), while EBV caused a seven-fold (OR 7.11; 95% CI 1.70-29.67; P = 0.007) increase in the risk of the integrated or mixed HPV-16 genome occurrence. Our data suggest that coinfection with herpesviruses, especially CMV and EBV, may be involved in the integration of the HPV-16 genome and may contribute to the development of cervical cancer.
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