Cytokine levels in cervical cancers: HPV 16/18 vs non HPV 16/18 genotypes

IL-10, IL-15, IL-17, and GMCSF levels in cervical cancer tissue of Tanzanian women infected with HPV16/18 vs. non-HPV16/18 genotypes

By Adriana C Vidal1, David Skaar2, Rachel Maguire2, Seyram Dodor3, Laura W Musselwhite4, John A Bartlett5, Olola Oneko6, Joseph Obure6, Pendo Mlay6, Susan K Murphy7 and Cathrine Hoyo2*



Despite comparable screening rates for precancerous lesions, higher incidence and mortality related to cervical cancer in minority women persists. Recent evidence suggests that minority women with precancerous cervical lesions harbor a wider range of human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes, many of these distinct from HPV16/18, those most commonly found in Caucasian women. The goal of the analysis was to determine if inflammatory cytokines and chemokines varied by HPV 16/18 versus other genotypes in cervical cancer tissues from Tanzanian women.


HPV genotypes and concentrations of chemokines and cytokines were measured from homogenized fresh tumor tissue of thirty-one women with invasive cervical cancer (ICC). Risk factors for cervical cancer including age, parity, hormonal contraceptive use and cigarette smoking were obtained by questionnaire. Generalized linear models were used to evaluate differences between chemokines/cytokine levels in women infected with HPV16/18 and those infected with other HPV genotypes.


After adjusting for age, parity and hormonal contraceptives, IL-17 was found significantly more frequently in invasive cervical cancer samples of women infected with HPV16/18 compared to women infected with other HPV genotypes (p = 0.033). In contrast, higher levels for granular macrophage colony-stimulating factor (p = 0.004), IL-10 (p = 0.037), and IL-15 (p = 0.041) were found in ICC tissues of women infected with genotypes other than HPV16/18 when compared to those of women infected with HPV16/18.


While the small sample size limits inference, our data suggest that infection with different HPV genotypes is associated with distinct pro-inflammatory cytokine expression profiles; whether this explains some of the racial differences observed in cervical cancer is still unclear. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Infectious Agents and Cancer 2015, 10:10  doi:10.1186/s13027-015-0005-1

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found here.

Author affilliations:

  • *Corresponding author: Cathrine Hoyo
  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Human Health and the Environment, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
  • 3School of Science and Mathematics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
  • 4Global Health Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
  • 5Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA
  • 6Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Moshi, Tanzania
  • 7Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA

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