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HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Methodology, Interpretation, and Significance

HPV in OPSCC Oncogenesis — Detection

Slide 13

March 2012

Depending on the study, HPV can be detected in 50-80% of cases of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. There appears to be at least a gradual increase in HPV detection over recent years; this is likely related to the fact that recent studies are more likely to have employed multiple testing platforms for HPV detection (ie in situ hybridization, polymerase chain reaction, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and so forth).

This is a good time to mention that the mechanism of disease in HPV-negative tumors diverges from what we see in HPV-positive tumors. HPV-negative tumors have shown elevated expression of cyclin D and EGFR, proteins that are often associated with tumorigenesis. Moreover, chromosomal aberrations, microsatellite instability, and epigenetic changes are more commonly seen in HPV-negative cases. These HPV-negative cases are thought to be more laden with genetic mutations induced by carcinogen exposure (such as cigarettes, alcohol, betel nut). These carcinogen-associated cases show a p53 mutation rate of more than 50%, whereas p53 mutation in HPV-positive of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, on the other hand, is rare.

HPV in OPSCC — Detection


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