Papillomavirus Res 2016 12 16;2:133-140. Epub 2016 Jul 16.
Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV - IRCCS, Immunology and Molecular Oncology Unit, Via Gattamelata, 64, 35128 Padua, Italy. Electronic address:
Objectives: To investigate the frequency of Human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) among patients living in North-East Italy, by assessing HPV-DNA positivity in all tumors and additional markers whenever possible.
Material And Methods: HPV types, viral load, viral RNA, HPV16/18 E6 protein and p16 and pRb expression were determined in primary tumor tissues from 247 HNSCC patients. Tumor-specific HPV seropositivity was analyzed in 102 patients.
Results: Tumor HPV-DNA prevalence was 8.5% overall (21/247) and 27% in oropharynx (17/63). HPV16 accounted for 95% of all HPV types found. Among HPV-DNA+ tumors, type-concordant HPV E6I RNA prevalence was 79%. HPV DNA+ RNA+ tumors showed high viral load, up-regulated p16, down-regulated pRb and presence of HPV16 E6 protein. Eight cases showed tumor-specific HPV seropositivity, all type-concordant with the tumor. Tumors were defined as HPV-driven when positive for HPV-DNA plus 2 additional HPV transformation-related markers.
Conclusion: Relative prevalence of HPV-driven tumors (14 HPV16, 1 HPV58) was 6% overall and 20% among oropharyngeal cancers. In the oropharynx the HPV-driven group showed a trend for better survival versus the HPV-negative group. The relative prevalence of HPV-driven oropharyngeal cancer is low in North-East Italy as compared to Western and Northern Europe.