Early Detection Research Network

Serum antibodies to the HPV16 proteome as biomarkers for head and neck cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 is associated with oropharyngeal carcinomas (OPC). Antibodies (Abs) to HPV16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins have been detected in patient sera; however, Abs to other early HPV-derived proteins have not been well explored.

Antibodies to the HPV16 proteome were quantified using a novel multiplexed bead assay, using C-terminal GST-fusion proteins captured onto Luminex beads. Sera were obtained from untreated patients with OPC (N=40), partners of patients with HPV16+ OPC (N=11), and healthy controls (N=50).

Oropharyngeal carcinomas patients with known virus-like capsid particle+ Abs had elevated serum Abs to HPV16 E1, E2, E4, E6, and E7, and L1 antibody levels, but not E5. The ratios of specific median fluorescence intensity to p21-GST compared with controls were E1: 50.7 vs 2.1; E4: 14.6 vs 1.3; E6: 11.3 vs 2.4; E7: 43.1 vs 2.6; and L1: 10.3 vs 2.6 (each P≤0.01). In a validation cohort, HPV16 E1, E2, and E7 antibody levels were significantly elevated compared with healthy control samples (P≤0.02) and partners of OPC patients (P≤0.01).

Patients with HPV16+ OPC have detectable Abs to E1, E2, and E7 proteins, which are potential biomarkers for HPV-associated OPC.

Anderson KS, D'Souza G, Haddad R, Kelsey KT, LaBaer J, Longtine J, Lorch J, McClean M, Pai SI, Posner M, Riemer AB, Wong J

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Br. J. Cancer, 2011, 104 (12)