Geographical and anatomical influences on human papillomavirus prevalence diversity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in Germany

Elgar Susanne Quabius, Jochen Haag, André Kühnel, Hannes Henry, Anna Sophie Hoffmann, Tibor Görögh, Jürgen Hedderich, Matthias Evert, Achim G. Beule, Steffen Maune, Rainald Knecht, Attila Òvári, Martin Durisin, Florian Hoppe, Silke Tribius, Christoph Röcken, Petra Ambrosch, Markus Hoffmann*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
13 Zitate (Scopus)


The increased knowledge regarding HPV-infections in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has unexpectedly contributed to several uncertainties related to i) prevalence diversities depending on tumour site and geographical origin of the patients, ii) proportion of HPV-driven tumours among HPV-DNA-positive cases, and iii) identification of patients with HPV-attributed survival benefit. To investigate this heterogeneity, we analysed 307 HNSCC cases (tonsillar, n=135; non-tonsillar, n=172) from eight health care centers mostly from Northern Germany and determined HPV-DNA/mRNA and p16INK4A-status and combined results with the patient outcome. Overall HPV-DNA prevalence rate was 23.5% (72/307); attributed to: 43.7% (59/135) and 7.6% (13/172) tonsillar and non-tonsillar cases, respectively. Among these, 96.6% tonsillar and 38.5% non-tonsillar SCC were HPV-mRNA-positive. Although the study cohort was composed of patients from regions of rather close proximity, prevalence rates showed diversities of up to 40% in HNSCC subsite analysis with the lowest prevalence for tonsillar SCC in metropolitan areas (22.2%) vs. 50.9% in rural areas. Survival analysis identified p16INK4A alone as strongest predictor, followed by HPV-DNA-status alone or in combination with p16INK4A. This survival benefit was shown for tonsillar and non-tonsillar cases. Smoking significantly correlated with HPV-status, however, it does not influence survival when stratified for HPV. In conclusion, the data emphasize the urge for further data on HPV-infection in HNSCC to, e.g. clarify to what extent survival benefits of p16INK4A-positive patients are truly attributed to HPV-infections.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Oncology
Seiten (von - bis)414-422
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.01.2015


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