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Int J Cancer. 2018 Nov 9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31971. [Epub ahead of print]

Comprehensive analysis of HPV infection, EGFR exon 20 mutations and LINE1 hypomethylation as risk factors for malignant transformation of sinonasal-inverted papilloma to squamous cell carcinoma.

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Unit of Pathology, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Insubria and ASST Sette-Laghi, Varese, Italy.
Division of Otorhinolaryngology, Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences, University of Insubria and ASST Sette-Laghi, Varese, Italy.


Different risk factors are suspected to be involved in malignant transformation of sinonasal papillomas and include HPV infection, tobacco smoking, occupational exposure, EGFR/KRAS mutations and DNA methylation alterations. In our study, 25 inverted sinonasal papillomas (ISPs), 5 oncocytic sinonasal papillomas (OSP) and 35 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) from 54 patients were genotyped for 10 genes involved in EGFR signalling. HPV-DNA detection was performed by in-situ hybridisation and LINE-1 methylation was quantitatively determined by bisulphite-pyrosequencing. High-risk HPV was observed only in 13% of ISP-associated SCC and in 8% of de novo-SCC patients. EGFR mutations occurred in 72% of ISPs, 30% of ISP-associated SCCs and 17% of de novo-SCCs. At 5-year follow-up, SCC arose in only 30% (6/20) of patients with EGFR-mutated ISPs compared to 76% (13/17) of patients with EGFR-wild-type ISP (p = 0.0044). LINE-1 hypomethylation significantly increased from papilloma/early stage SCC to advanced stage SCC (p = 0.03) and was associated with occupational exposure (p = 0.01) and worse prognosis (p = 0.09). In conclusion, our results suggest that a small subset of these tumours could be related to HPV infection; EGFR mutations characterise those ISPs with a lower risk of developing into SCC; LINE-1 hypomethylation is associated with occupational exposure and could identify more aggressive nasal SCC.


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