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Int J Cancer. 2015 Jan 15;136(2):278-88. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28979. Epub 2014 May 27.

Human papillomavirus DNA load and p16INK4a expression predict for local control in patients with anal squamous cell carcinoma treated with chemoradiotherapy.

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Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


As the detection rate of HPV-DNA in anal carcinoma commonly exceeds 90%, a comparison between sole HPV-positive and HPV-negative cancers with respect to treatment response following chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and long-term oncological outcome is challenging. Against this background, we aimed to assess HPV types and HPV DNA load in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPE) of 95 patients treated with standard CRT for anal cancer to correlate viral load (≤/> median) with local failure, distant metastases, cancer-specific (CSS) and overall survival (OS) rates. Various clinicopathologic parameters and the immunohistochemical marker p16(INK4a) were evaluated for any correlation with HPV16 DNA load and were included in uni- and multivariate analyses. The overall prevalence of HPV DNA was 95.8% with HPV16 monoinfection being the most commonly encountered HPV type (78.9%), followed by HPV16 and 31, 35, 39, 44, 58, 66 and 81 dual infection in 9 patients (9.5%). HPV16 DNA load was significantly associated with p16(INK4a) expression (p = 0.001). Patients with HPV16 DNA load ≤ median and low p16(INK4a) expression showed significantly worse local control (HPV16 DNA load: univariate p = 0.023, multivariate p = 0.042; p16(INK4a): univariate p = 0.021), and OS (HPV16 DNA load: univariate p = 0.02, multivariate p = 0.03). Moreover, a combined HPV16 DNA load and p16(INK4a) variable revealed a significant correlation to decreased local failure, and increased CSS and OS (p = 0.019, p = 0.04 and p = 0.031). In conclusion, these data indicate that HPV16 DNA load and p16(INK4a) expression are significant prognostic factors for local tumor control and overall survival of patients with anal SCC following CRT.


HPV; anal carcinoma; chemoradiotherapy; local control; overall survival; p16INK4a

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