Thursday, September 2, 2010

HPV prevalence in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Esophageal cancer is currently the eighth most common human cancer, with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) being the most common subtype. Tobacco and alcohol use are the most prevalent causes of ESCC; however, limited evidence suggests that infectious agents--in particular, human papillomavirus (HPV)--are linked to ESCC. Antonsson et al. recently analyzed HPV prevalence and lifestyle factors in ESCC patients. Archived tumor samples from a nationwide cohort of 222 ESCC patients in Australia were tested for the presence of HPV DNA by PCR, and positive samples were sequenced to determine HPV type. DNA was extracted from FFPE tissue blocks or slides using the QuickExtract™ FFPE DNA Extraction Kit. Samples were analyzed for the presence of HPV with general mucosal HPV primers, and β-globin PCR primers were used as a control. Of the 222 ESCC patients, only eight tested positive for HPV (six cases of HPV-16; two cases of HPV-35). None of 55 esophageal tissue controls from healthy patients tested positive for HPV. Lifestyle factors were also investigated in this study. Overall, there was weak evidence that that patients with HPV-positive ESCC had higher BMI than patients with HPV-negative tumors. The authors conclude that larger studies or pooled analyses will be required for definitive evidence regarding the role of HPV in ESCC.

ResearchBlogging.orgAntonsson, A. et al. (2010). High-Risk Human Papillomavirus in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 19 (8), 2080-2087 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0033

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