The relationships between human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV 16) viral load, HPV 16 integration status, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) status, and cervical cytology were studied among women enrolled in a cohort of female sex workers in Burkina Faso. The study focused on 24 HPV 16-infected women. The HPV 16 viral load in cervical samples was determined by real-time PCR. Integration ratio was estimated as the ratio between E2 and E6 genes DNA copy numbers. Integrated HPV16 viral load was defined as the product of HPV 16 viral load by the integration ratio. High HPV 16 viral load and high integration ratio were more frequent among women with squamous intraepithelial lesions compared with women with normal cytology (33% vs. 11%, and 33% vs. 0%, respectively), and among women with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions compared with women without high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (50% vs. 17%, and 50% vs. 11%, respectively). High HPV 16 DNA load, but not high integration ratio, was also more frequent among HIV-1-positive women (39% vs. 9%; and 23% vs. 18%, respectively). The absence of statistical significance of these differences might be explained by the small study sample size. High-integrated HPV 16 DNA load was significantly associated with the presence of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (50% vs. 5%, P = 0.03) in univariate and multivariate analysis (adjusted odds-ratio: 19.05; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-328.3, P = 0.03), but not with HIV-1 or other high-risk HPV types (HR-HPV). Integrated HPV 16 DNA load may be considered as a useful marker of high-grade cervical lesions in HPV 16-infected women.
Journal of Medical Virology (2007) 79 (6) 766-770 [DOI:10.1002/jmv.20888]