AIMS--To investigate the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the association between HLA DQw3 and squamous cell cancer of the cervix (SCCC). METHODS--Tissue from 194 cervical samples, ranging from normal, through cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, to SCCC, were typed for HPV by amplification of the L1 gene using degenerate consensus primers, followed by oligonucleotide probing. HLA DQw3 typing was undertaken in the same samples using a new PCR amplification system using primers common to all DQ loci, followed by restriction digestion with Mlu 1 to differentiate HLA DQw3 types--null, heterozygous, and homozygous. The data were analysed using chi 2 analysis and by calculating relative risks with the 95% confidence interval. RESULTS--Samples (n = 188) were successfully typed for HPV and 177 were typed for HLA DQw3. There was a nonsignificant rise in the prevalence of HLA DQw3 in SCCC (64.3%) compared with the group with normal histology (53.2%). Analysis of the prevalence of HLA DQw3 on the basis of HPV infection rather than histology showed that 63 of 95 (66.3%) of the HPV positive samples contained HLA DQw3 alleles, compared with 39 of 78 (50.0%) of the HPV negative samples (chi 2 4.06; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS--There was a significant association between HLA DQw3 and cervical HPV infection. This may be because people with HLA DQw3 are less able to mount an effective immune response to HPV, which predisposes them to the development of SCCC.
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