Virchows Archiv

, Volume 458, Issue 2, pp 179–187 | Cite as

The role of high-risk human papillomavirus infection in oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in non-smoking and non-drinking patients: a clinicopathological and molecular study of 46 cases

  • Jan LacoEmail author
  • Hana Vosmikova
  • Vendula Novakova
  • Petr Celakovsky
  • Helena Dolezalova
  • Lubos Tucek
  • Jana Nekvindova
  • Milan Vosmik
  • Eva Cermakova
  • Ales Ryska
Original Article


The aim of the study was to investigate the role of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection in the etiopathogenesis of oral (OSCC) and oropharyngeal (OPSCC) squamous cell carcinoma in non-smoking and non-drinking patients (NSNDP). Twenty-four OSCCs and 22 OPSCCs were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for p16INK4a protein (p16) expression and by chromogene in situ hybridization (CISH) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HR-HPV DNA presence. The series included 23 males and 23 females aged 35–93 years. p16 expression was seen in 7 out of 24 (29%) OSCCs and in 22 out of 22 (100%) OPSCCs. Using CISH, HR-HPV DNA was observed in 6 out of 24 (25%) OSCCs and in 21 out of 22 (95%) OPSCCs. HPV DNA was found in 3 out of 24 (13%) OSCCs and in 18 out of 22 (82%) OPSCCs using PCR. HPV 16 and 33 were detected in 16 and in two cases, respectively. Compared with OSCCs, OPSCCs more frequently showed basaloid morphology (p < 0.0001), lymph node involvement (p = 0.0063), diffuse p16 expression (p < 0.0001), HR-HPV DNA presence using both CISH and PCR (p < 0.0001; p < 0.0001), and better outcome. The sensitivity and specificity of p16 expression for HR-HPV DNA presence detected by CISH were 0.89 and 0.95, respectively, and 0.95 and 0.85 for PCR detected HPV DNA. The sensitivity and specificity of CISH for PCR detected presence of HPV DNA were 1.00 and 0.73, respectively. Our study is the first larger study analyzing OSCC and OPSCC in NSNDP. Our results indicate that unlike OSCC, a vast majority of OPSCCs may be associated with HR-HPV infection.


Squamous cell carcinoma Oral cavity Tonsil HPV p16 CISH 



The authors thank Mrs. M. Zakova for her excellent technical support and Dr. F.A. Sobande for English language correction. The experiments carried out in this study comply with the current laws of the Czech Republic. This study was supported by the Research Project of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic No. 00179906.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Laco
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hana Vosmikova
    • 2
  • Vendula Novakova
    • 3
  • Petr Celakovsky
    • 4
  • Helena Dolezalova
    • 3
  • Lubos Tucek
    • 3
  • Jana Nekvindova
    • 2
  • Milan Vosmik
    • 5
  • Eva Cermakova
    • 6
  • Ales Ryska
    • 1
  1. 1.The Fingerland Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Biochemistry and Diagnostics, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  6. 6.Computer Technology Center, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec KraloveCharles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic

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