Background: HPV serology is important for studies of vaccine immunogenicity, but can not be performed in a comparable manner without international standardisation.
Objectives: To find suitable candidate sera from naturally infected persons for use as International Standards (IS) for antibodies to high-risk HPVs, with priority for HPV-18.
Study design: 946 healthy Thai women (median age 44, range 18-83) and 61 cervical cancer patients were screened using an HPV pseudovirion-Luminex assay to detect antibodies to genital (HPV-6,-11,-16,-18,-31,-33,-45,-52,-58,-68) and non-genital HPV types (HPV-5,-15,-32,-38 and -76). Suitable candidate sera should ideally be mono-specific (have reactivity against only one genital HPV) and have high antibody levels that are stable over time.
Results: Seroprevalences of HPV-16,-31,-52 and -58 were at least twice as high among cancer patients compared to healthy individuals. Thirteen healthy women who met the IS inclusion criteria in initial testing also consented to blood-bag donations. Donations from 2 women with high HPV-18 Ab titers were pooled to the HPV-18 candidate IS, later established as the WHO official IS for HPV antibodies. Sera that could potentially be used as candidate IS for other oncogenic HPVs have also been identified.
Conclusions: In the Thai population, seroepidemiology implicated HPV types HPV-16,-31,-52 and -58 as particularly associated with cervical cancer. A well characterized cohort study has allowed sourcing of materials for an IS for HPV-18 antibodies and could conceivably be used for IS for other HPV types as well.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; Human papillomavirus (HPV); International standard serum; Luminex; Serology; Thailand.
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