Association of serum cytokines with oral HPV clearance

Jennifer O. Lam, Jay H. Bream, Elizabeth A. Sugar, Christian L. Coles, Kathleen M. Weber, Robert D. Burk, Dorothy J. Wiley, Ross D. Cranston, Susheel Reddy, Joseph B. Margolick, Howard D. Strickler, Alicia Wentz, Lisa Jacobson, Yingshi Guo, Weihong Xiao, Maura L. Gillison, Gypsyamber D'Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Initial studies suggest higher serum levels of some pro-inflammatory cytokines may be associated with decreased cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) clearance. However, the relationship of cytokines with oral HPV clearance has not been explored. Methods: From 2010 to 2014, oral rinse and serum samples were collected semi-annually from 1601 adults. Oral rinse samples were tested for HPV DNA using PCR. Based on oral HPV results, 931 serum samples were selected for cytokine evaluation to include a roughly equal number of prevalent (n = 307), incident (n = 313), and no oral HPV infections (n = 311). Electrochemiluminescence multiplex assays were used to determine the concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12 and IL-13. The relationship between serum cytokine concentrations (categorized into quartiles) and oral HPV clearance was evaluated with Wei-Lin-Weissfeld regression models, adjusting for HPV infection type (prevalent vs. incident), age, HIV status, and CD4 T cell count. Results: Higher TNF-α concentration was associated with decreased clearance in men (highest vs. lowest quartile, adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.34-0.79) and women (aHR = 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.55-1.04), with stronger associations in men than women (p-interaction = 0.049). Higher IL-2 concentration was associated with reduced clearance in men (aHR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.50-0.95), but not women (p-interaction = 0.058). Results were similar within CD4 T cell strata (CD4 ≥ 500 or CD4 < 500 cells/μl) among HIV-infected participants. No other cytokines were associated with clearance. Conclusion: High serum TNF-α is associated with reduced clearance of oral HPV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Infection
  • Natural history
  • Oral HPV
  • Persistence
  • TNF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology


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