This study aimed to assess the role of specific human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) variants, in combination with p53 codon 72 polymorphism genotypes, in cervical carcinogenesis. An initial sequence analysis of HPV-16 long control, E6 and E7 regions of 53 well-defined cervical samples containing HPV-16 revealed that a T to G transition at nucleotide position 350 within the E6 open reading frame was the most common variation, the frequency of which seemed to decrease with increasing severity of the lesion. Therefore, a total of 246 cervical samples of residents of The Netherlands was specifically analysed for HPV-16 350G/T variants and/or p53 codon 72 genotypes. These comprised HPV-negative normal cervical scrapes (=40), normal cervical scrapes containing HPV-16 (=46), scrapes containing HPV-16 from women with abnormal cervical cytology participating in a non-intervention follow-up study without (=38) and with (=51) a histologically proven cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) III lesion at the end of the study, and cervical squamous cell carcinomas (=71). Neither specific HPV-16 350G/T variants nor specific p53 genotypes were associated with a higher risk of developing CIN III or cervical cancer. However, HPV-16 350T variants were significantly over-represented in p53 Arg homozygous women with cervical cancer. This suggests that, in p53 Arg/Arg women, infection with HPV-16 350T variants confers a higher risk of cervical cancer.


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