• HPV;
  • cervical cancer;
  • genotyping;
  • viral load;
  • viral DNA integration


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most important event in malignant transformation of human cervical epithelium. We analysed in cervical smears, HPV genotypes with a focus on single/multiple infections, then characteristics of HPV-16 infections (presence of other genotypes, viral load and physical state) according to the grade of histological lesions. The purpose of this study was to know if these parameters could allow to differentiate histological diagnoses. DNA was extracted from 363 cervical samples corresponding to 24 cases without lesion, 96 CIN1, 92 CIN2, 144 CIN3 and 7 cancers. Our results show that HPV-16 was predominant and its prevalence increased with the severity of lesions (CIN1: 27.1%; CIN3: 65.3%). In addition, we showed that the frequency of single infections, as compared with multiple infections, increased with the severity of the lesion (CIN1: 25.0%; CIN3: 54.8%). Among HPV-16 positive samples (n = 170), we found that viral load, determined on cervical samples by real-time PCR, did not vary significantly according to the different CIN grades. Concerning HPV-16 integration, the mixed and integrated HPV-16 forms, already present in women with normal histology, increased to the benefit of pure episomal forms with the severity of lesions (normal cervix: 28.6%; CIN3: 73.8%). Thus, our data raise the question of the viral load as a valuable clinical parameter to discriminate between lesion grades. Moreover, we emphasize integration as an early event in cervical carcinogenesis, increasing with the severity of lesions. Finally, this study underlines the importance of single versus multiple infections linked to the severity of CIN. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.