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Nature. 1992 Mar 5;356(6364):66-8.

Linkage of regression and malignant conversion of rabbit viral papillomas to MHC class II genes.

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  • 1Unité des Papillomavirus, INSERM U190, Paris, France.


Human papillomaviruses associated with cutaneous and anogenital cancers induce intraepithelial precursor lesions which may regress spontaneously or progress into invasive carcinomas. Cell-mediated immune responses are probably involved in regression of precancerous lesions and the polymorphism of the genes responsible may thus have a key role in the variability of the host response. Skin warts and cancers induced in rabbits by Shope papillomavirus provide a model to test this hypothesis. We analysed a restriction-fragment-length polymorphism of major histocompatibility complex class I and class II genes and T-cell receptor beta-chain genes in infected domestic rabbits. We found a strong linkage between wart regression and a DR alpha EcoRI fragment, and an increased relative risk of malignant transformation associated with a DQ alpha PvuII fragment. This indicates a genetic control of wart evolution, involving genes in the class II region of the major histocompatibility complex.

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