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Eur J Cancer. 2005 Mar;41(5):807-15.

Human papillomavirus-16 associated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN): a natural disease model provides insights into viral carcinogenesis.

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UPCI Research Pavilion, The Hillman Cancer Center, 5117 Centre Avenue, Room 1.19d, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1863, USA.


Uncertainty regarding the causality of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) necessitates better in vitro models. We carried out molecular analyses of a novel, naturally HPV-16-transformed SCCHN cell line (UPCI:SCC090) and show high copy number of HPV-16 DNA, present in a head to tail, tandemly repeated integrated state. Sequence analysis of the HPV-16 long control region (LCR) in UPCI:SCC090 revealed a deletion of 163 bp, removing a portion of the enhancer sequence, including the binding sites for the transcription factors YY1 and NF1. The E6 and E7 oncogenes of HPV-16 are expressed at high levels in this cell lines, as determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). UPCI:SCC090 contains wild-type tumour suppressor TP53 gene, and undetectable p53 protein, except after treatment with cisplatin, specific proteasome inhibitors or by E6 RNA interference, suggesting E6-dependent degradation of p53 in this cell line. The results of our studies are consistent with a causative role of HPV-16 in the pathogenesis of SCCHN.

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