European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 275, Issue 5, pp 1289–1300 | Cite as

Expression of hormone receptors in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

  • Hesham MohamedEmail author
  • Katri Aro
  • Lauri Jouhi
  • Antti Mäkitie
  • Satu Remes
  • Caj Haglund
  • Timo Atula
  • Jaana Hagström
Head and Neck



Hormone receptors play an important role in many types of cancers. Alongside factors associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, hormonal receptors may impact the tumorigenesis of oropharyngeal cancer.

Materials and methods

This study consists of 199 consecutive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients diagnosed and treated with a curative intent. We examined androgen (AR), estrogen (ER; both alpha and beta), and progesterone receptor (PR) expressions using immunohistochemistry comparing tumor and patient characteristics.


AR was expressed in 16%, PR in 27% and ER-beta in 63% of the tumors. HPV- and p16-positive tumors expressed more AR and less PR than their negative counterparts. High PR expression was associated with poor disease-specific and locoregional recurrence-free survival.


AR, PR, and ER-beta are expressed in OPSCC, and AR and PR expressions are associated with HPV and p16 status. Furthermore, PR appears to have prognostic significance. This may allow us to investigate the role of anti-hormone receptors in the treatment of OPSCC.


Oropharynx Human papillomavirus (HPV) Androgen receptor Estrogen receptor Progesterone receptor 



This work was supported by the Helsinki University Hospital Research Funds, the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, the Otorhinolaryngology Research Foundation, Finnish Dental Association, Apollonia, and Libyan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The project is part of a larger research project regarding oropharyngeal cancer at the Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (HUCH), and an institutional review board approval was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS). In addition, a hospital study permission was granted (Dnro179/13/03/02/2013). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Helsinki, HusLab and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of HistologyOmar Al-Mukhtar UniversityAlBaydaLibya
  3. 3.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Division of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases, Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska InstitutetKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Research Programs Unit, Translational Cancer BiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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