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Cancer Lett. 2003 Dec 30;202(2):231-9.

Human papillomavirus DNA in sera of cervical cancer patients as tumor marker.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Innsbruck University Hospital, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) has been widely recognized to induce carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Viral DNA has been documented to occur as tumor DNA in the circulation of patients with primary tumors caused by viral infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of serum HPV DNA as tumor marker in cervical cancer patients. Sera taken from 94 cervical cancer patients at the date of diagnosis and follow-up serum samples from 24 patients were examined for HPV DNA using PCR enzyme immunoassay. Serum samples taken at the date of diagnosis were HPV DNA positive in 45% of all investigated samples. Sera which were HPV DNA positive at the time of diagnosis became and also remained negative after primary treatment in patients without recurrence or persistent disease. HPV DNA was positive up to 423 days before the time of clinical diagnosis of recurrence in 10 out of 13 cases (median 72 days, range 0-423 days). Serum HPV DNA seems to reflect biological activity of the tumor. Our results indicate that serum HPV DNA might be a useful additional marker for early detection of recurrence in cervical cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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