Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Human papillomavirus type 16 E6 variants in France and risk of viral persistence

Iris Cornet1*, Tarik Gheit1, Gary M Clifford1, Jean-Damien Combes1, Véronique Dalstein2, Silvia Franceschi1, Massimo Tommasino1 and Christine Clavel2

Author Affiliations

1 International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, Lyon, 69372 Cedex 08, France

2 INSERM UMR-S 903 / Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne / CHU Reims, Laboratoire Pol-Bouin, Reims, France

For all author emails, please log on.

Infectious Agents and Cancer 2013, 8:4  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-8-4

Published: 23 January 2013



Only a small portion of HPV 16 infections persist and can lead to cervical intraepithelial lesions and cancer. Factors that favour HPV persistence versus clearance are still poorly understood, but several studies have suggested that HPV intra-type variants may influence persistence and clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to assess the possible association between HPV 16 variants and the risk for viral persistence in the general population of France.


One hundred and forty two women infected with HPV 16 with normal cytology, without previous treatment for cervical lesions, and with a valid second follow-up visit 4 to 16 months later, were selected from patients participating in routine cervical cancer screening in the Reims HPV Primary Screening Cohort Study. HPV intra-type variants were determined by sequencing the HPV 16 E6 open reading frame, and were compared for viral persistence at the second visit using odds ratios (OR) to estimate relative risk.


Although no statistically significant differences in risk for persistence were observed by the HPV 16 variant lineage, European variants containing the polymorphism 350 T (EUR-350 T) appeared to persist more often than those containing 350 G (EUR-350 G) (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.8-3.4).


No strong differences were observed in the risk of viral persistence for the HPV 16 variants that predominate in France.

Cervical cancer screening; Cohort; Polymorphism; HPV; Variants; Persistence