The discovery that certain high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) cause nearly 100% of invasive cervical cancer has spurred a revolution in cervical cancer prevention by promoting the development of viral vaccines. Although the efficacy of these vaccines has already been demonstrated, a complete understanding of viral latency and natural immunity is lacking, and solving these mysteries could help guide policies of cervical cancer screening and vaccine use. Here, we examine the epidemiological and biological understanding of the natural history of HPV infection, with an eye toward using these studies to guide the implementation of cervical cancer prevention strategies.
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Women?45years of age with persistent HPV infections have distinct peripheral circulating immune profiles. Few studies have comprehensively evaluated the cervical immunologic microenvironment in HPV-positive and HPV-negative perimenopausal women.
We collected cervical secretion specimens from 34 high risk HPV (HR-HPV) positive and 44 HR-HPV negative women enrolled in an ongoing prospective cohort assessing the natural history of HPV across the menopausal transition. We used these specimens to quantify concentrations of 27 different immune markers using multiplexed bead-based immunoassays.
HR-HPV positive women had significantly higher median concentrations of IL-5 (0.11 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 0.08 ng/mgtotal protein), IL-9 (2.7 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 2.1 ng/mgtotal protein), IL-13 (2.1 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 0.9 ng/mgtotal protein), IL-17 (2.9 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 1.1 ng/mgtotal protein), EOTAXIN (4.1 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 1.1 ng/mgtotal protein), GM-CSF (4.3 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 3.3 ng/mgtotal protein), and MIP-1? (3.5 ng/mgtotal protein vs. 1.9 ng/mgtotal protein) compared to HR-HPV negative women. A shift in the correlation of T-cell and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFN-?, IL-5, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-15, and TNF-?) from IL-2 to EOTAXIN was observed between HR-HPV negative and positive women.
Higher local concentrations of anti-inflammatory and allergy associated markers, with a shift in T-cell associated cytokine correlation from IL-2 to EOTAXIN, are associated with HPV infection among older women.