Biology of HPV in HIV infection

Adv Dent Res. 2006 Apr 1;19(1):99-105. doi: 10.1177/154407370601900120.


HIV-positive men and women are at increased risk of anogenital and oral HPV infection. The risks for HPV-associated high-grade intra-epithelial neoplasia (IN) and cancer are also increased. The prevalence of oral, anal, and cervical HPV infection in HIV-positive individuals compared with HIV-negative individuals increases with progressively lower CD4+ levels, as does incident high-grade IN. In contrast to IN, development of cancer is not related to lower CD4+ level. With increasing grades of IN and cancer, the proportion of tissues with copy-number abnormalities (CNA) increases, with one of the most common genetic changes being amplification of chromosome 3q. The presence of CNA is associated with the integration of HPV DNA into the host genome, with loss of HPV E2 and/or E2 rearrangement. This suggests a link between CNA and increased HPV-induced chromosomal instability mediated through de-repressed E6 and E7 expression consequent to loss of functional E2 protein. In addition, epigenetic changes occur with increasing frequency in high-grade IN and cancer, such as hypermethylation leading to down-regulation of potential tumor suppressor genes. Analysis of these data together suggests that immune suppression plays a more prominent role in the earlier stages of HPV-associated disease, up to and including incident high-grade IN. Persistent high-grade IN and development of cancer may be more strongly related to the cumulative effect of HPV-associated genetic instability and the resulting host genetic changes. There are few data to suggest a direct role for HIV in the pathogenesis of HPV-associated neoplasia, but HIV-associated attenuation of HPV-specific immune responses may allow for persistence of high-grade IN and sufficient time for accumulation of genetic changes that are important in progression to cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / virology
  • Aneuploidy
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects
  • Anus Neoplasms / complications
  • Anus Neoplasms / genetics
  • Anus Neoplasms / virology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3 / virology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / physiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / etiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*
  • Virus Integration