Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Role of the human papillomavirus in tumour progression

Marzia De Petrini, Massimo Rittà, Marina Schena, Luigi Chiusa, Paola Campisi, Carlo Giordano, Vincenzo Landolfo, Giancarlo Pecorari, Santo Landolfo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High risk human papilloma viruses (HPVs) have been shown to be independent risk factors for anogenital tract cancers, and have also been detected in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence of HPV DNA in a group of 47 squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx and the oral cavity, and to compare the clinical behaviour of HPV positive and negative tumours. We also assessed the proliferation index, as evaluated by Ki67 immunohistochemistry positivity, and the level of p53 reactivity. HPV DNA was found in 50% of carcinomas of the oropharynx and 36% in those of the oral cavity, the only genotype detected being HPV 16. Patients with HPV-positive carcinomas had a better overall survival than those with HPV-negative carcinomas. Our data suggest that HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers comprise a distinct disease entity with an improved prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • HPV
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki67
  • p53
  • PCR
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Role of the human papillomavirus in tumour progression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this