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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995 Mar 15;87(6):437-40.

Association of serum immunoglobulin G antibodies against human papillomavirus type 16 capsids with anal epidermoid carcinoma.

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Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



Anal epidermoid carcinoma is a relatively rare tumor, but its incidence has been increasing rapidly during the past few years. Genetic material from the major oncogenic types of human papillomavirus (HPV), types 16 and 18, has regularly been demonstrated in a substantial proportion of anal cancers, suggesting an etiologic role of HPV infection. Recently, serum antibodies against HPV type 16 capsids were shown to be a serologic measure of HPV16 infection.


We investigated whether serum antibodies against HPV16 capsids are associated with an increased risk of developing anal cancer.


Serum samples from 64 patients (48 women and 16 men) with untreated anal epidermoid cancer and from 79 age- and sex-matched healthy blood donors were analyzed for the levels of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) against capsids of HPV16 by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The levels of serum IgG against HPV type 6 and bovine papillomavirus (BPV) capsids, as well as against HPV16 peptide antigens, were also measured.


Whereas antibodies against HPV6 or BPV capsids were not significantly associated with anal cancer, the presence of IgG against HPV16 capsids exceeding the anti-BPV antibody levels was demonstrated among 55% (35 of 64) of the case patients but only among 4% (three of 79) of the control subjects (odds ratio [OR] = 30.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.4-161.5). Antibodies against HPV16 E2 and E7 peptides were also more common among case patients (OR = 12.8 and 95% CI = 5.4-31.5 for E2; OR = 3.0 and 95% CI = 1.4-6.7 for E7).


The results suggest that HPV16 capsid antibodies are serologic markers for anal cancer.


Exposure to HPV16 or related viruses appears to be a major risk factor in the majority of anal cancers.

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