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Anticancer Res. 2012 Aug;32(8):3085-9.

Human papillomavirus DNA and p16 gene in squamous cell lung carcinoma.

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Second Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.



To investigate the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, and to examine the protein expression and genomic status of p16 and their correlation.


Fifty cases of surgically removed primary lung SCC were analyzed. HPV detection was performed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) of L1 region and E6/E7 region of high-risk viral genotype. p16 protein and gene analysis were carried out by immunohistochemistry and Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH), respectively.


HPV DNA was found in two out of 50 cases (4%, p>0.05). In five cases, p16 protein expression was positive. The data showed that in 45/50 cases (90%, p<0.05) HPV DNA and p16 were both negative, in 2/50 cases (4%) both were positive, and in 3/50 (6%) cases, HPV DNA was negative and p16 positive. FISH analysis for p16 gene showed aneusomia of chromosome 9 with or without loss of p16 gene in all cases (100%, p<0.05).


Our study shows that in pulmonary SCC, there is no association between the presence of HPV DNA and the expression of p16 protein. Furthermore, the loss of the p16 gene and the instability of chromosome 9 were frequently found in HPV DNA-negative cases.

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