Characterization of High-Risk HPV/EBV Co-Presence in Pre-Malignant Cervical Lesions and Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Rancés Blanco, Diego Carrillo-Beltrán, Juan P. Muñoz, Julio C. Osorio, Julio C. Tapia, Verónica A. Burzio, Iván Gallegos, Gloria M. Calaf, Paola Chabay, Francisco Aguayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


High-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs) are the etiological agents of cervical cancer. However, a low proportion of HR-HPV-infected women finally develop this cancer, which suggests the involvement of additional cofactors. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) has been detected in cervical squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) as well as in low-(LSIL) and high-grade (HSIL) squamous in-traepithelial lesions, although its role is unknown. In this study, we characterized HR-HPV/EBV co-presence and viral gene expression in LSIL (n = 22), HSIL (n = 52), and SCC (n = 19) from Chilean women. Additionally, phenotypic changes were evaluated in cervical cancer cells ectopically expressing BamHI-A Rightward Frame 1 (BARF1). BARF1 is a lytic gene also expressed in EBV-positive epithelial tumors during the EBV latency program. HPV was detected in 6/22 (27.3%) LSIL, 38/52 (73.1%) HSIL, and 15/19 (78.9%) SCC cases (p < 0.001). On the other hand, EBV was detected in 16/22 (72.7%) LSIL, 27/52 (51.9%) HSIL, and 13/19 (68.4%) SCC cases (p = 0.177). HR-HPV/EBV co-presence was detected in 3/22 (13.6%) LSIL, 17/52 (32.7%) HSIL, and 11/19 (57.9%) SCC cases (p = 0.020). Additionally, BARF1 transcripts were detected in 37/55 (67.3%) of EBV positive cases and in 19/30 (63.3%) of HR-HPV/EBV positive cases. Increased proliferation, migration, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) was observed in cervical cancer cells expressing BARF1. Thus, both EBV and BARF1 transcripts are detected in low-and high-grade cervical lesions as well as in cervical carcinomas. In addition, BARF1 can modulate the tumor behavior in cervical cancer cells, suggesting a role in increasing tumor aggressiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number888
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • BamHI-A rightward frame 1 expression
  • cervical cancer
  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • human papillomavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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