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Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) play an important part in the development of cervical cancer, but the role of other infectious agents, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), is not clear. We assayed serum samples collected from 219 women with cervical cancer and from 387 controls for antibody to infectious agents. HPV 16-E7 and/or HPV 18-E7 antibodies were significantly related to cervical cancer risk (RR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2-3.2). Antibodies to HSV types 1 and 2, Chlamydia trachomatis, and to multiple infectious agents were associated with cervical cancer when seroprevalence rates in all cases and controls were compared, but when HPV-seropositive cases and controls were compared these associations were weaker and non-significant. This finding suggests that past infections with sexually transmitted infections other than HPV may be surrogate markers of exposure to HPV, and of no separate aetiological significance.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1116 - 1118


Adult, Antibodies, Viral, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cytomegalovirus, Female, Genital Diseases, Female, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Humans, Papillomaviridae, Risk Factors, Simplexvirus, Uterine Cervical Neoplasms