Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
  Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login  
  Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Users Online: 1126       

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 142  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 507-508

Human papillomavirus (HPV) insertional mutation as a dynamic & specific tumour biomarker in HPV-associated carcinoma

Chef du Département de BioPathologie, Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 PARIS Cedex 05, France

Date of Web Publication9-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
Xavier Sastre-Garau
Chef du Département de BioPathologie, Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 PARIS Cedex 05
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.171266

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Sastre-Garau X. Human papillomavirus (HPV) insertional mutation as a dynamic & specific tumour biomarker in HPV-associated carcinoma. Indian J Med Res 2015;142:507-8

How to cite this URL:
Sastre-Garau X. Human papillomavirus (HPV) insertional mutation as a dynamic & specific tumour biomarker in HPV-associated carcinoma. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 May 27];142:507-8. Available from:

The work reported by Das et al[1] in this issue is focused on the analysis of the physical status of human papillomavirus (HPV) genomes in cervical carcinoma, in comparison with the course of the disease. It is necessary to recall that the HPV genome, a 8-Kb circular molecule, may exist in two different physical forms according to the type of lesions. In benign papillomas as in most pre-invasive neoplasia, HPV DNA molecules are present as free episomes in the nucleus of keratinocytes whereas in most invasive carcinoma, viral DNA is integrated into the tumour cells genome [2] . Free molecules, heterogeneously distributed in tumour cells, may also be present in variable amount according to different cases. Integration disrupts the circular viral chromosome which is generally partially deleted. However, the viral E6 and E7 oncogenes are constantly conserved and expressed in tumour cells [3] . Das et al[1] have shown that in cervical cancers with integrated forms of HPV DNA, the disease outcome is worse than in cases harbouring only free molecules. How to explain this result and why is it an important one?

The analysis of different cellular models has shown that the integration of HPV DNA frequently interrupts the viral E2 gene which has negative regulation properties on expression level of the E6 and E7 viral oncogenes. Integration, per se, leads to the constitutive expression of the viral oncogenes and can be an important step in tumour progression. In addition, insertion of HPV DNA may also lead to a deregulation of cellular genes located at the vicinity of the integration locus. This deregulation may be secondary to structural changes such as focal amplification [4] or losses [5] of genes implied in tumour progression, or to the influence of the viral regulatory region on cellular genes located in the vicinity of the viral genome. Finally, it cannot be excluded that in certain cases, integration is a mere evidence of instability of the tumour genome and represents a biological parameter of the severity of the disease.

In the perspective of the current progress in the molecular characterization of solid tumours, three important points can be derived from the analysis of HPV genome status in tumours:

  1. HPV DNA is a tumour marker that should facilitate the detection of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) and improve the biological follow up of patients. Circulating viral DNA is an indirect tumour marker but the use of mutational insertion for the detection of ctDNA provides a more specific tumour marker [6] . Using HPV and cellular flanking sequences as a molecular marker, the detection of ctDNA will thus allow a highly sensitive and specific diagnosis of infra-clinical relapses, and provides a tool for an optimal biological "personalized monitoring of patients".
  2. HPV is not only a tumour marker but also a therapeutic target. This has been shown in immunotherapy protocols [7] . Moreover, recent data on in vitro genetic engineering show that the specific destruction of HPV oncogenes leads to a reversion of the tumour state [8] . These innovative treatments will be more efficient in cases with minimal tumour mass. And thus, the early detection of tumour relapse will be of paramount importance in the perspective of specific therapy, and the specificity of the alteration detected will be of crucial importance.
  3. The advances on cervical cancer patients monitoring and treatment will be easily extended to other HPV-associated disease. In particular, HPV has been found to be associated with 88 per cent of carcinoma of the anal canal [9] and 40 per cent of head and of neck [10] . This latter tumour type will be particularly important since it is the world's seventh most common type of cancer [11] , and HPV status is of strong prognostic significance [12] .
On the whole, the findings of Das et al[1] are important as these imply that teams of researchers and clinicians are together involved in the development of tumour markers. These teams will be able to include the leads obtained in their practice and in new therapeutic approaches of HPV-associated cancer in the very next future.

   References Top

Das P, Thomas A, Kannan S, Deodhar K, Shrivastava SK, Mahantshetty U, et al. Human papillomavirus (HPV) genome status & cervical cancer outcome - A retrospective study. Indian J Med Res 2015; 142 : 525-32.   Back to cited text no. 1
Hopman AH, Smedts F, Dignef W, Ummelen M, Sonke G, Mravunac M, et al. Transition of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia to micro-invasive carcinoma is characterized by integration of HPV 16/18 and numerical chromosome abnormalities. J Pathol 2004; 202 : 23-33.  Back to cited text no. 2
Matsukura T, Koi S, Sugase M. Both episomal and integrated forms of human papillomavirus type 16 are involved in invasive cervical cancers. Virology 1989; 172 : 63-72.  Back to cited text no. 3
Peter M, Rosty C, Couturier J, Radvanyi F, Teshima H, Sastre-Garau X. MYC activation associated with the integration of HPV DNA at the MYC locus in genital tumors. Oncogene 2006; 25 : 5985-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
Reuter S, Bartelmann M, Vogt M, Geisen C, Napierski I, Kahn T, et al. APM-1, a novel human gene, identified by aberrant co-transcription with papillomavirus oncogenes in a cervical carcinoma cell line, encodes a BTB/POZ-zinc finger protein with growth inhibitory activity. EMBO J 1998; 17 : 215-22.  Back to cited text no. 5
Campitelli M, Jeannot E, Peter M, Lappartient E, Saada S, de la Rochefordiere A, et al. Human papillomavirus mutational insertion: specific marker of circulating tumor DNA in cervical cancer patients. PLoS One 2012; 7 : e43393.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kenter GG, Welters MJ, Valentijn AR, Lowik MJ, Berends-van der Meer DM, Vloon AP, et al. Vaccination against HPV-16 oncoproteins for vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. N Engl J Med 2009; 361 : 1838-47.  Back to cited text no. 7
Kennedy EM, Kornepati AV, Goldstein M, Bogerd HP, Poling BC, Whisnant AW, et al. Inactivation of the human papillomavirus E6 or E7 gene in cervical carcinoma cells by using a bacterial CRISPR/Cas RNA-guided endonuclease. J Virol 2014; 88 : 11965-72.  Back to cited text no. 8
Alemany L, Saunier M, Alvarado-Cabrero I, Quiros B, Salmeron J, Shin HR, et al. HPV VVAP Study Group. Human papillomavirus DNA prevalence and type distribution in anal carcinomas worldwide. Int J Cancer 2015; 136 : 98-107.  Back to cited text no. 9
Abogunrin S, Di Tanna GL, Keeping S, Carroll S, Iheanacho I. Prevalence of human papillomavirus in head and neck cancers in European populations: a meta-analysis. BMC Cancer 2014; 14 : 968.  Back to cited text no. 10
Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C, Parkin DM. Estimates of worldwide burden of cancer in 2008: GLOBOCAN 2008. Int J Cancer 2010; 127 : 2893-917.  Back to cited text no. 11
Ang KK, Harris J, Wheeler R, Weber R, Rosenthal DI, Nguyen-Tan PF, et al. Human papillomavirus and survival of patients with oropharyngeal cancer. N Engl J Med 2010; 363 : 24-35.  Back to cited text no. 12


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded329    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal