Follow-up of antibody responses to human papillomavirus type 16 E7 in patients treated for cervical carcinoma



A synthetic peptide comprising amino acids 6-35 of HPV-16 E7 was used in an ELISA to screen sera taken from 31 cervical carcinoma patients. Sera obtained before and during treatment, and in follow-up, were tested for the presence of antibodies to this peptide. Sixteen patients with negative pretreatment serum determination remained negative during treatment and follow-up. Of the 15 patients with positive pretreatment sera, 12 showed a decrease in anti-E7 6–35 antibody level during treatment. During follow-up an increase in anti-E76–35 antibody level was observed in 6 out of 7 patients with progressive or recurrent disease, whereas all patients who remained in complete remission showed stable or further decreasing antibody levels. During the course of disease of the 15 seropositive patients, serum anti-E76–35 antibody levels were compared with serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC-Ag) profiles, a clinically useful tumor marker in the management of cervical cancer patients. Similar patterns were observed in 10 out of 15 patients. The results of this study suggest that in a subset of cervical cancer patients, anti-E76–35 antibody response against HPV-16 E7 at least partially depends on the presence of viable tumor lesions, and that to some extent the anti-E7 profile reflects the course of disease. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, inc.