In women, naturally induced anti-human papilloma virus (HPV) serum antibodies are a likely marker of host immune protection against subsequent HPV acquisition and progression to precancerous lesions and cancers. However, it is unclear whether the same is the case in men. In this study, we assessed the risk of incident genital infection and 6-month persistent genital infection with HPV16 in relation to baseline serostatus in a cohort of 2,187 men over a 48-month period. Genital swabs were collected every 6 months and tested for HPV presence. Incidence proportions by serostatus were calculated at each study visit to examine whether potential immune protection attenuated over time. Overall, incidence proportions did not differ statistically between baseline seropositive and seronegative men at any study visit or over the follow-up period. The risk of incident and 6-month persistent infection was not associated with baseline serostatus or baseline serum antibody levels in the cohort. Our findings suggest that baseline HPV seropositivity in men is not associated with reduced risk of subsequent HPV16 acquisition. Thus, prevalent serum antibodies induced by prior infection may not be a suitable marker for subsequent immune protection against genital HPV16 acquisition in men.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research