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Int J Oncol. 2011 Jul;39(1):51-9. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1031. Epub 2011 May 4.

High incidence of high-risk HPV in benign and malignant lesions of the larynx.

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Laboratory of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Mons, Mons, Belgium.


The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in patients with laryngeal benign lesions (LBLs) and laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas (LSCCs) using a sensitive E6/E7 type-specific PCR. Paraffin-embedded samples from LBL (n=39) and LSCC patients (n=67) were evaluated for the presence of HPV DNA by GP5+/GP6+ consensus PCR and E6/E7 type-specific PCR for HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 68. In LSCCs, immunohistochemical staining of p16, p53 and EGFR was also assessed. The E6/E7 type-specific PCR showed that 44 out of 59 LSCC patients (i.e., 75%) had high-risk (hr) HPV types and that 27 out of 35 LBL patients (i.e., 77%) had hrHPV types. HPV-16 viral load was significantly higher in LSCC than in LBL patients (p<10-6). The presence of hrHPV DNA did not correlate with the proportion of disease-free patients. Comparable levels of p16, p53 and EGFR expression were observed in the hrHPV+ tumor group (100% p16+, 56% p53+ and 97% EGFR+) and in the HPV- or low-risk (lr) HPV+ tumor group (92% p16+, 66% p53+ and 100% EGFR+). A very high prevalence of oncogenic HPV-16 was found in a series of benign and malignant laryngeal lesions. LSCC appears to be characterized by an active hrHPV infection. In LSCCs, the hrHPV+ subgroup had a similar prognosis (in terms of risk of recurrence) as the HPV- subgroup.

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