Epstein-Barr virus and human papillomavirus infections and genotype distribution in head and neck cancers

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Abstract

Methods and Materials: HPV and EBV DNA, EBV genotypes and LMP-1 variants, and HPV mRNA expression were detected by PCR from fresh-frozen HNC samples. HPV genotypes were determined by direct sequencing, and EBV encoded RNA (EBER) was examined by in situ hybridization. Results: Of the 209 HNC patients, 63 (30.1%) had HPV infection, and HPV-16 was the most common subtype (86.9%). HPV E6/E7 mRNA expression was found in 23 of 60 (38.3%) HPV DNA-positive cases detected. The site of highest prevalence of HPV was the oropharynx (45.9%). Among 146 (69.9%) HNCs in which EBV DNA was identified, 107 (73.3%) and 27 (18.5%) contained types A and B, respectively, and 124 (84.9%) showed the existence of del-LMP-1. However, only 13 (6.2%) HNCs were positive for EBER, 12 (92.3%) of which derived from the nasopharynx. Co-infection of HPV and EBER was found in only 1.0% of HNCs and 10.0% of NPCs. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed significantly better disease-specific and overall survival in the HPV DNA+/mRNA+ oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPC) patients than in the other OPC patients (P = 0.027 and 0.017, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that stage T1-3 (P = 0.002) and HPV mRNA-positive status (P = 0.061) independently predicted better disease-specific survival. No significant difference in disease-specific survival was found between the EBER-positive and-negative NPC patients (P = 0.155). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that co-infection with HPV and EBV is rare in HNC. Oropharyngeal SCC with active HPV infection was related to a highly favorable outcome, while EBV status was not prognostic in the NPC cohort. Objective: To investigate the prevalence, genotypes, and prognostic values of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in Japanese patients with different types of head and neck cancer (HNC).

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Deng, Z., Uehara, T., Maeda, H., Hasegawa, M., Matayoshi, S., Kiyuna, A., … Suzuki, M. (2014). Epstein-Barr virus and human papillomavirus infections and genotype distribution in head and neck cancers. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113702

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