Journal of cancer research and clinical oncology 2017 10 17() doi 10.1007/s00432-017-2531-2
To evaluate the impact of HPV16 load (VL-the number of virus genome copies per cell) and P16 expression on prognosis of patients with squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of head and neck (HN).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
HPV16 presence was assessed in the group of 109 patients with HNSCCs by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). VL (assessed by qPCR) and P16 expression (evaluated by immunohistochemistry) were analysed only in the subgroup of HPV16-positive tumours. These features were correlated with 5-year overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).
HPV16 infection was found in 36 tumours (33.0%). Virus-positive patients had better OS and DFS than those without infection (P = 0.041 and 0.005). Among HPV16-positive HNSCCs, 18 (50.0%) had higher VL (median value > 6764.3 copies/cell) and 25 (73.5%) P16 over expression. The significant differences in OS and DFS (P = 0.008 and 0.004) were noticed according to VL, wherein 100% DFS was found for patients with higher VL. According to P16 expression, significant difference was found only for OS (P = 0.020). In multivariate analysis, VL (P = 0.045; HR = 2.795; CI 0.121-1.060) and the level of smoking (P = 0.023, HR = 2.253; CI 1.124-4.514) were independent factors affecting DFS of HPV16-positive patients.
On the basis of viral load, it is possible to differentiate prognosis of patients with HPV16-positive HNSCCs. In this subgroup, viral load has stronger prognostic potential than P16 expression.