In addition to traditional risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and betel nut use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection also plays a role in the development of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). Although among European countries the highest incidence and mortality rates of head and neck cancer types were recorded in Hungary, data regarding HPV prevalence in HNSCCs is scarce. We collected biopsy and saliva samples from patients diagnosed with HNSCC or oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) and tested them for the presence of HPV using the PCR consensus primer set MY09/11 and the GP5+/6+ primer pair. HPV genotypes were assessed by sequencing of the amplified PCR fragments. Oral mucosa and saliva samples from tumor- and OPMD-free individuals were also analysed. HPV was detected in 11 out of 60 HNSCC samples (18%). All of the HPV positive tumors carried HPV type 16. 5 out of the 57 saliva samples collected from HNSCC patients was HPV positive (8.8%); among them, in addition to HPV16, HPV13 was also detected. Tumors located to the oropharynx had the highest HPV positivity rate with 50% (7 out of 14), which was significantly higher than the HPV prevalence in oral mucosa samples collected from controls (0 out of 20; p > 0.001) or in OPMD biopsies (0 out of 21, p > 0.001). 2 out of 57 control saliva samples (3.5%, subtype HPV13 and 11) and 3 out of 39 saliva samples from OPMD patients (7.7%, subtype HPV18, 81 and 10) were HPV positive. Our data suggested that HPV16 infection may contribute, in concert with cigarette smoking, to the development of a subset of head and neck cancers in Hungary. HPV16 infection per se does not account, however, for the high HNSCC incidence rate recorded in this country.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases