Role of mucosal high-risk human papillomavirus types in head and neck cancers in central India

Tarik Gheit, Devasena Anantharaman, Dana Holzinger, Laia Alemany, Sara Tous, Eric Lucas, Priya Ramesh Prabhu, Michael Pawlita, Ruediger Ridder, Susanne Rehm, Johannes Bogers, Fausto Maffini, Susanna Chiocca, Belén Lloveras, Rekha Vijay Kumar, Thara Somanathan, Silvia de Sanjosé, Xavier Castellsagué, Marc Arbyn, Paul BrennanRengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, Madhavan Radhakrishna Pillai, Nitin Gangane, Massimo Tommasino, the HPV-AHEAD study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mucosal high-risk (HR) human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause a subset of head and neck cancers (HNC). The HPV-attributable fraction of HNC varies substantially between countries. Although HNC has a very high incidence in the Indian subcontinent, information on the contribution of HPV infection is limited. Here, we evaluated the HPV-attributable fraction in HNC (N = 364) collected in a central region of India. HNC from three different anatomical subsites were included, namely, oral cavity (n = 252), oropharynx (n = 53) and hypopharynx/larynx (n = 59). In this retrospective study, HPV-driven HNC were defined by presence of both viral DNA and RNA. Overexpression of p16INK4a was also evaluated. HR-HPV DNA was detected in 13.7% of the cases; however, only 2.7% were positive for both HPV DNA and RNA. The highest percentage of HPV DNA/RNA double positivity was found in oropharynx (9.4%), followed by larynx (1.7%) and oral cavity (1.6%) (p = 0.02). More than half of HPV DNA/RNA-positive cases were p16INK4a-negative, while a considerable number of HPV RNA-negative cases were p16INK4a-positive (17.9%). HPV16 was the major type associated with HNC (60.0%), although cases positive for HPV18, 35 and 56 were also detected. Our data indicate that the proportion and types of mucosal HR-HPV associated with HNC in this central Indian region differ from those in other (developed) parts of the world. This may be explained by differences in smoking and/or sexual behaviour compared with North America and northern Europe. Moreover, we show that p16INK4a staining appeared not to be a good surrogate marker of HPV transformation in the Indian HNC cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017


  • central India
  • head and neck cancer
  • HPV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of mucosal high-risk human papillomavirus types in head and neck cancers in central India'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this