The serologic response against virus-like particles (VLP) from 7 high risk genital papillomaviruses was investigated by ELISA in 147 Colombian women with invasive cervical cancer and 147 age-matched cytologically normal and HPV-DNA negative women. Anti-VLP antibodies were detected in 82% of the invasive cervical cancer patients and in 56% of the controls. Detection of antibodies against multiple HPV types is the rule and the presence of high antibody titers was associated with higher survival of cancer patients. Higher anti-VLP seroprevalence was observed in younger cancer patients. In those followed serologically for 1 year, antibodies generally remained at the same level. However, in some patients an increase or decrease in antibody levels occurred simultaneously for multiple HPV types, suggesting cross-reactivity between the HPV types investigated. Investigation of seroreactivity between 8 high risk HPVs suggested that there is some cross-reactivity between phylogeneticaly-related types such as 16, 31, 33 and 58; and 18, 45 and 59. In conclusion, our results confirmed (i) the high rate of HPV infections in Colombia, both in patients with cervical cancer and in the general population, and the particularly high rate of infections due to HPV 31 and 58; and (ii) the validity of anti-VLPs as a marker of present or past HPV infection. The simultaneous appearance or disappearance of antibodies against multiple HPV VLPs suggests that the antibodies detected by ELISA are not always type specific.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.