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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 May 24;102(21):7683-8.

Sensitive detection of human papillomavirus in cervical, head/neck, and schistosomiasis-associated bladder malignancies.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0652, USA.


We assayed for the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA in serum and/or peripheral blood fraction (PBF) of individuals with cervical, head/neck, or bladder cancer due to schistosomiasis. Using mass spectroscopy coupled with competitive PCR, HPV DNA was detected at the individual molecule level by using "MassARRAY" assays. The resultant sensitivity was superior to real-time fluorescent PCR-based assays, while specificity was maintained. Our principal findings were: (i) Virtually all tested cervical cancers and schistosomiasis-associated bladder cancers, and a plurality of head/neck cancers, are associated with HPV DNA in the tumor. (ii) All 27 bladder cancers due to schistosomiasis were associated with the presence of HPV-16 DNA, which can be detected in tumor and serum but not in PBF. In contrast, no serum HPV-16 DNA signal was detected in seven individuals with schistosomiasis-associated bladder cancers after surgical removal of the tumor. (iii) Among the head/neck cancers we studied, anterior tumors were more often associated with HPV DNA in tumor, serum, and/or PBF than posterior tumors. (iv) In cervical cancer, where all tumors contain HPV DNA, viral DNA could be detected often in serum and/or PBF. Further, HPV-16 DNA was detected in serum and/or PBF of most patients with untreated high-grade cervical dysplasia but disappeared if the dysplasia was eliminated. The sensitive, specific, and quantitative MassARRAY technique should make it feasible to monitor cancer occurrence and treatment and recurrence of malignancies and dysplasias associated with HPV DNA.

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