DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes common, but usually transient, infections of
the cervix that sometimes become cervical cancer. Since few of the women
infected with HPV get cervical cancer, we are interested in cofactors in
addition to HPV that promote tumor formation. One such possible cofactor is
Chlamydia trachomatis, a prevalent, sexually transmitted disease that can
infect the cervix for long periods of time. A recent article suggested that
specific serotypes of C. trachomatis were associated with the development of
cervical squamous cell cancer. We have a population based sample of 500
cervical cancer cases and 300 controls blood samples that have been tested for
antibodies to HPV and have been interviewed for risk factors for cervical
cancer. The tumor tissue has been tested for HPV DNA by polymerase chain
reaction. This resource will allow us to quickly and efficiently test for C.
trachomatis in order to evaluate two hypotheses. First, whether an increased
risk of cervical carcinoma is associated with C. trachomatis, with an emphasis
on the relative risks associated with the three genital C. trachomatis
serotype classes. Second, to examine this association separately among women
with the two main histologic types of cervical cancer, squamous cell carcinoma
(n=300) and adenocarcinoma (n=200) of the cervix. Control subjects selected
for this study have serum antibodies to HPV-16 or -18. The benefit of
screening and treatment for chlamydial infections might extend to include
prevention of the proportion of cervical cancer promoted by infection with
specific serotypes of C. trachomatis. If we are able to confirm the
relationship between C. trachomatis and cervical cancer, repeated targeted
screening of young women for C. trachomatis may become a higher public health
priority. Furthermore, our results would help determine whether further follow
up of the C. trachomatis and cervical cancer association is warranted in a
more expensive, prospective setting.
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