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