Natural immune responses against eight oncogenic human papillomaviruses in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study

Lauren E. Wilson, Michael Pawlita, Phillip E. Castle, Tim Waterboer, Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, Patti E. Gravitt, Mark Schiffman, Nicolas Wentzensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Only a subset of women with human papillomavirus (HPV) infections will become seropositive, and the factors influencing seroconversion are not well understood. We used a multiplex serology assay in women with mildly abnormal cytology results to examine seroreactivity to oncogenic HPV genotypes. An unbiased subset of women in the atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance /low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion Triage Study provided blood samples at trial enrollment for serological testing. A Luminex assay based on glutathione s-transferase-L1 fusion proteins as antigens was used to test seroreactivity against eight carcinogenic HPV genotypes (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 52 and 58). We analyzed the relationship between seroprevalence in women free of precancer (N = 2,464) and HPV DNA status, age, sexual behavior and other HPV-related risk factors. The overall seroprevalence was 24.5% for HPV16 L1 and ∼20% for 18L1 and 31L1. Among women free of precancer, seroprevalence peaked in women less than 29 years and decreased with age. Type-specific seroprevalence was associated with baseline DNA detection for HPV16 (OR = 1.36, 95%CI: 1.04-1.79) and HPV18 (OR = 2.31, 95%CI: 1.61-3.32), as well as for HPV52 and HPV58. Correlates of sexual exposure were associated with increased seroprevalence across most genotypes. Women who were current or former smokers were less likely to be seropositive for all eight of the tested oncogenic genotypes. The multiplex assay showed associations between seroprevalence and known risk factors for HPV infection across nearly all tested HPV genotypes but associations between DNA- and serostatus were weak, suggesting possible misclassification of the participants' HPV serostatus. What's new? Not all women infected with human papilloma virus (HPV) develop antibodies to the virus, and the factors that may lead to this seroconversion haven't been well characterized. In addition, there is currently no standardized assay for detecting HPV antibodies. In this study, the authors used a Luminex-based serology assay to measure antibody responses against eight carcinogenic HPV types. In women with mildly abnormal cervical cytology results, the study found an association between HPV-positive antibody titers and several risk factors for HPV infection. Smoking, however, showed a negative association with seroconversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2172-2181
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • antibodies
  • human papillomavirus
  • seroepidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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