Indexed on: 16 Oct '07Published on: 16 Oct '07Published in: Journal of Medical Virology
Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is considered as the central cause of invasive cervical cancer. Specific HPV 16 and 18 sequence variations were associated with an increased risk for progression. The purpose of this study was to analyze intratypic variations of HPV 16 and 18 within the E6 gene, MY09/11 and LCR regions, and to evaluate the risk of these variants for cervical neoplasia among Portuguese women. Cervical samples from 187 HPV 16-positive and 41 HPV 18-positive women with normal epithelium, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, or invasive cervical cancer were amplified by type-specific PCR, followed by sequence and phylogenetic analysis. Sixteen new HPV 16 and 18 patterns are described in this paper. European HPV 16 variants were the most frequent (74.3%), particularly Ep-T350 (44.4%), followed by African (16.1%), and Asian-American (9.6%). Non-European HPV 16 variants were more frequent in pre-invasive lesions than in normal tissue and low-grade lesions. However, when analyzed separately, only African variants were associated significantly with an increased risk for cervical cancer. For HPV 18, the AsAi variant showed a trend, which was not statistically significant to an enhanced oncogenicity. European variants seemed to be significantly associated with a lower risk for cervical cancer development. The distribution of HPV 16 and 18 variants was not related to age or race among women living in the same geographical region. Knowledge of variants will be important for risk determination as well as for designing primers or probes for HPV detection methods, and for appropriate cervical cancer prevention strategies.