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The relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) and esophageal cancer (EC) has been controversial, which may be caused by the difference in geographic regions of sample origin. Thus, we conducted a case-control study to find that HPV increased the risk of esophageal cancer, and the HPV18 detection rate is the highest (24.2%) among patients with EC, suggesting that HPV18 could be the most risk subtype of HPV infected. We then identified high-risk HPV18 and N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitroso-guanidine (MNNG) to establish a model on the viral etiology cooperating with environmental carcinogens. Het-1A cells containing HPV18 were continuously exposed to MNNG or not; then the morphological phenotype and function assays were performed in 25th passage cells. MNNG promoted the proliferation and invasion abilities and inhibited apoptosis both in Het-1A-HPV18 and control group. However, the Het-1A-HPV18 had a stronger change in phenotypic features and formed more transformed foci in soft agar. Further, Western blot found p53 and p21 were down-regulated, and expression of c-Myc, MMP-2, and MMP-9 and Bcl-2/Bax ratio were up-regulated. Our results revealed that MNNG was easier to induce malignant transformation of Het-1A cells transfected with HPV18. It is good evidence for the close relationship between HPV and the etiology of EC, providing foundation for further study in molecular mechanism and specific intervention targets.


Ying Zhang, Yinan Li, Enchun Pan, Chao Zhao, Hu Zhang, Ran Liu, Shizhi Wang, Yuepu Pu, Lihong Yin. Infection with Human Papillomavirus 18 Promotes Alkylating Agent-Induced Malignant Transformation in a Human Esophageal Cell Line. Chemical research in toxicology. 2021 Aug 16;34(8):1866-1878

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PMID: 34296853

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