Objective: Certain intra-type variants of HPV16 have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of developing high grade cervical disease, but their potential association is confounded by apparent geographic and phylogenetic lineage dependency. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between HPV16 sequence variants and cervical disease stage in monospecific infection samples from a single lineage (European, EUR) in England. Methods: One hundred and twelve women singly infected with HPV16 and displaying normal and abnormal cytology grades were selected. An 1187. bp fragment encompassing the entire LCR and a portion of the E6 open reading frame was sequenced to identify intra-type variants. Intra-type diversity was estimated using Shannon entropy. Results: Almost all samples (110/112; 98%) were assigned to the EUR lineage, one sample was classified as European-Asian (EAS) and another African (Afr1a). The mean pairwise distance of the EUR sequences in this study was low (0.29%; 95%CI 0.13-0.45%) but there were nevertheless several sites in the LCR (n=5) and E6 (n=2) that exhibited a high degree of entropy. None of these sites, however, including the T350G non-synonymous (L83V) substitution in E6, alone or in combination, were found to be associated with cervical disease stage. Conclusions: Despite using single infection samples and samples from a single variant lineage, intra-type variants of HPV16 were not differentially associated with cervical disease. Monitoring intra-lineage, site-specific variants, such as T350G, is unlikely to be of diagnostic value.
- Cervical cancer
- Human papillomavirus