High risk of human papillomavirus type 16 infections and of development of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions in systemic lupus erythematosus patients.


Arthritis Rheum. 2007 May 15;57(4):619-25.

Nath R, Mant C, Luxton J, Hughes G, Raju KS, Shepherd P, Cason J.

St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK.


OBJECTIVE: To determine rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, abnormal cervical smears, and squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) among women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS: We investigated 30 women with SLE, 67 with abnormal smears from colposcopy clinics, and 15 community subjects with normal smears. Polymerase chain reaction results for viral DNA and HPV-16 sequencing data were correlated to cytology and colposcopic findings. RESULTS: SLE and colposcopy patients were more likely (P < 0.05) to be HPV positive (15 [54%] and 37 [67%] patients, respectively) and HPV-16 DNA positive (16 [57%] and 17 [31%] patients, respectively) than community subjects (0% HPV DNA positive and 1 [6%] HPV-16 DNA positive). SLE patients were also more likely to be HPV-16 DNA positive than colposcopy patients (P < 0.05). SLE patients with a high HPV-16 viral load more frequently had SIL (n = 6) than those with a low HPV-16 viral load (n = 1; P < 0.05). HPV and HPV-16 DNA positivity were not associated with previous or current drug therapy for SLE patients. All HPV-16 DNA sequences from 6 SLE and 5 colposcopy patients were the European-type variant. Eighteen (60%) SLE patients had a previous or current cervical abnormality. At the time of study, 5 (17%) SLE patients had an abnormal cervical smear and 8 (27%) had SIL. For those diagnosed with SLE for >10 years, the rate of SIL was 44% lower than those with SLE for <5 years (odds ratio 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.1-3.5).

CONCLUSION: UK women with a recent SLE diagnosis had disturbingly elevated levels of HPV infections (particularly with European HPV-16 variants at a high viral load), abnormal cervical cytology, and SIL.



Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.