The presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA and human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in 74 head and neck tumor tissues was examined by the polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing analysis. EBV DNA sequence was detected in all 30 nasopharyngeal-carcinoma tissue samples and in 30 of 44 other head and neck tumor samples. HPV DNA sequence was detected in 14 of 30 nasopharyngeal-carcinoma tissue samples and in 11 of 44 other tumor samples. Coinfection of both viruses was observed in 14 nasopharyngeal-carcinoma tissue samples but only in 5 other head and neck tumor samples including 3 hypopharyngeal-carcinoma tissue samples. Our data indicate that EBV is closely associated with nasopharyngeal- carcinoma and may also be related to hypopharyngeal-carcinoma. In addition, a relatively high percentage of EBV-positive nasopharyngeal- and hypopharyngeal-carcinoma tissue specimens contained HPV sequence. The significance of the coexistence of EBV and HPV in these tumor tissues requires further study.
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