Objective: Antibodies to human papillomavirus are indicative for previous human papillomavirus exposure. Human papillomavirus antibody reactivities to vulvar precancerous lesions were reported poorly, and the role of human papillomavirus in some of these lesions is still unclear. Study design: In a direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, serum samples from 126 healthy control subjects, 97 women with lichen sclerosus with or without squamous hyperplasia, 78 women with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, and 16 women with verrucous carcinoma were examined for immunoglobulin G and A antibodies to L1 virus-like particles of genital human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, 18, and 31, cutaneous human papillomavirus type 8, bovine papilloma virus, and cottontail rabbit papilloma virus. Results: In lichen sclerosus/squamous hyperplasia with atypia immunoglobulin G and A, antibody positivity rates to high-risk human papillomavirus virus-like particle types 16, 18, and 31 were significantly higher than in the control group and the lichen sclerosus/squamous hyperplasia group without atypia. In patients with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia I, increased immunoglobulin G antibody prevalences with both high-risk and low-risk human papillomavirus-virus-like particles were detected; whereas in patients with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia II/III, this was observed only with the human papillomavirus types 16, 18, and 31. When only reactivities with 2 genital human papillomavirus types were compared, percentages of positives to only 1 of these 2 types ranged between 43% and 82%, with regard to all respective positives. Conclusion: Our data support the role of high-risk human papillomavirus types, mainly human papillomavirus-16, in the pathogenesis of different vulvar lesions with atypia. Serologically, there are no indications that lichen sclerosus/squamous hyperplasia without atypia is associated with human papillomavirus, but high-risk human papillomavirus in lichen sclerosus/squamous hyperplasia with atypia could play a role in carcinogenesis. High antibody specificity was clearly demonstrated among 5 genital, 1 cutaneous human, and 2 animal papillomavirus types.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology