To understand the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in recurrence of uterine cervical cancer (CA-CX) after radiotherapy, we have analyzed the HPV prevalence in the exfoliated cells of 56 patients and their corresponding plasma. HPV DNA was detected in exfoliated cells of 78% (44/56) patients (HPV-16, 68%; HPV-18, 14%; HPV-X [other than 16, 18], 11%; and mixed infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18 in three cases). HPV DNA in plasma was present in only 25% (11/44) of the HPV-positive exfoliated cells (positive predictive value, 100%; negative predictive value, 27%) with concordance in HPV types. The recurrence of the disease was significantly associated with the presence of HPV in the exfoliated cell (P = 0.01) and plasma (P = 0.007) as well as high viral load in the exfoliated cell (P = 0.0002). Kaplan–Meier disease-free estimates have also shown the significant association between HPV prevalence in plasma and recurrence of the disease (P = 0.045). Thus, it indicates that in postradiotherapy CA-CX patients, the high viral load in the exfoliated cell as well as HPV presence in the plasma samples could be used in early detection of the patients at increased risk for disease recurrence and progression.
- cervical cancer
- human papillomavirus
- plasma DNA
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