Previous evidence indicates that human papillomavirus (HPV) integration status may be associated with cervical cancer development and progression. However, host genetic variation within genes that may play important roles in the viral integration process is understudied. The aim of this study was to examine the association between HPV16 and HPV18 viral integration status and SNPs in nonhomologous-end-joining (NHEJ) DNA repair pathway genes on cervical dysplasia. Women enrolled in two large trials of optical technologies for cervical cancer detection and positive for HPV16 or HPV18 were selected for HPV integration analysis and genotyping. Associations between SNPs and cytology (normal, low-grade, or high-grade lesions) were evaluated. Among women with cervical dysplasia, polytomous logistic regression models were used to evaluate the effect of each SNP on viral integration status. Of the 710 women evaluated [149 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), 251; low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL, 310 normal)], 395 (55.6%) were positive for HPV16 and 192 (27%) were positive for HPV18. Tag-SNPs in 13 DNA repair genes, including RAD50, WRN, and XRCC4, were significantly associated with cervical dysplasia. HPV16 integration status was differential across cervical cytology, but overall, most participants had a mix of both episomal and integrated HPV16. Four tag-SNPs in the XRCC4 gene were found to be significantly associated with HPV16 integration status. Our findings indicate that host genetic variation in NHEJ DNA repair pathway genes, specifically XRCC4, are significantly associated with HPV integration, and that these genes may play an important role in determining cervical cancer development and progression.

Prevention Relevance:

HPV integration in premalignant lesions and is thought to be an important driver of carcinogenesis. However, it is unclear what factors promote integration. The use of targeted genotyping among women presenting with cervical dysplasia has the potential to be an effective tool in assessing the likelihood of progression to cancer.

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