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Head Neck. 2011 Apr;33(4):504-12. doi: 10.1002/hed.21475.

Alteration of microRNA profiles in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck cell lines by human papillomavirus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have a much better disease outcome compared to SCCHN cases lacking HPV. Differences in microRNA (miRNA) expression may affect their clinical outcomes.


The miRNA expression was studied using microarrays and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in HPV-16-positive and HPV-negative SCCHN cell lines. The role of HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes in altering miRNA expression was investigated using human foreskin keratinocytes (HFKs).


The miRNAs miR-363, miR-33, and miR-497 were upregulated, whereas miR-155, miR-181a, miR-181b, miR-29a, miR-218, miR-222, miR-221, and miR-142-5p were downregulated in HPV-positive cells compared to both HPV-negative SCCHN and normal oral keratinocytes. HPV-16 E6 oncogene altered miRNA expression in HFKs and in an HPV-16-positive cell line with E6 knockdown using siRNA.


miRNAs differentially expressed in the presence of HPV-16 may provide biomarkers for SCCHN and identify cellular pathways targeted by this virus.

Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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