Introduction: We investigated the potential role of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in potentially malignant oral disorders, oral leukoplakia (OL) and oral lichen planus (OLP), and in oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC) in an Eastern Hungarian population with a high incidence of OSCC. Methods: Excised tumor samples (65 OSCC patients) and exfoliated cells from potentially malignant lesions (from 44 and 119 patients with OL and OLP, respectively) as well as from healthy controls (72 individuals) were analysed. OLPs were classified based on clinical appearance, 61 patients had erosive-atrophic lesions (associated with higher malignancy risk, EA-OLP) and 58 had non-erosive non-atrophic lesions (with lower risk of becoming malignant, non-EA-OLP), respectively. Exfoliated cells collected from apparently healthy mucosa accompanied each lesion sample. HPV was detected by MY/GP polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and genotyped by restriction analysis of amplimers. Copy numbers in lesions were determined using real-time PCR. Prevalence rates, copy number distributions, and association with risk factors and diseases were analysed using chi-square test, t-test, and logistic regression, respectively. Results: We detected HPVs significantly more frequently in lesions than in controls (P ≤ 0.001 in all comparisons). HPV prevalence increased gradually with increasing severity of lesions (32.8, 40.9, and 47.7% in OLP, OL, and OSCC, respectively). Copy number distribution patterns roughly corresponded to prevalence rates, but OLP and OL were comparable. HPV prevalence differed significantly between EA-OLP and non-EA-OLP groups (42.6 vs. 22.4%); EA-OLP group showed a prevalence similar to that found in OL. Conclusion: HPVs may be involved in the development or progression of not only OSCC but also of potentially malignant oral lesions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)