Comparative response of normal and of human papillomavirus-16 immortalized human epithelial cervical cells to benzo[a]pyrene.

A. A. Melikian, X. Wang, S. Waggoner, D. Hoffmann, K. El-Bayoumy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Laboratory evidence suggests synergism of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection with cigarette smoking behaviors in enhancing the risk of cervical cancer. In this preliminary investigation, we tested the hypothesis that HPV infection may alter the metabolic activation of tobacco smoke carcinogens, such as benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), thereby playing a role in the etiology of cervical cancer. We examined in vitro the metabolism and DNA adduct formation of [3H]B[a]P in normal and HPV-16 immortalized human epithelial cervical cells in culture, and investigated the effect of [3H]B[a]P on growth of these cells. Cultures of normal human cervical cells and of HPV-16 immortalized cervical epithelial cells were exposed to 0.2 microM [3H]B[a]P for 24 and 48 h. [3H]B[a]P inhibited growth of both normal and HPV-16 immortalized cervical cells. However, the growth inhibition of normal cells was more profound than that of HPV-16 immortalized cells. Comparison of the metabolism of [3H]B[a]P in these cells indicated that they both metabolize [3H]B[a]P predominantly to [3H]trans-9,10-dihydroxy-9,10-dihydrobenzo[a]pyrene ([3H]B[a]P-9, 10-diol), [3H]r-7,t-8, 9,c-10-tetrahydroxy-7,8,9, 10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene ([3H]trans-anti-B[a]P-tetraol), and unknown polar products. Enzymatic hydrolysis of water-soluble metabolites indicated that the levels of glucuronide and sulfate conjugates in these cells are negligible. Similarly, both cell lines form similar [3H]B[a]P-DNA adducts. However, the level of the (+)[3H] anti-B[a]P diol epoxide (BPDE)-deoxyguanosine adduct in HPV-16 immortalized cells after 24 and 48 h exposures was 3.8 and 3. 1 pmol/mg DNA, respectively, which is 2.2-fold and 2.6-fold greater than the level of this adduct in normal cells. Under the conditions and within the time frame employed in these assays, both the cell growth and DNA damage induced by [3H]B[a]P appear to be higher in HPV-16 immortalized cells than those detected in normal cells. The results, although preliminary, suggest that HPV-16 immortalized cervical cells are more susceptible to DNA damage by BaP which, in part, may enhance their transformation to malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1371-1376
Number of pages6
JournalOncology reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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