Biological evidence for a causal role of HPV16 in a small fraction of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma
Although human papillomaviruses (HPVs) have been found in many, but not all, tumours of the oral cavity, nose, pharynx and larynx, the true role of HPV in malignant tumours of the head and neck is still unclear. The presence of HPV DNA was investigated in 45 fresh squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) specimens and in 29 normal mucosa specimens collected from 45 primary laryngeal SCC patients. HPV DNA was detected using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with consensus primers that detect HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.9 of the 45 patients (20%) were HPV positive; the presence of HPV was also detected in the corresponding normal laryngeal mucosa of four of the 29 specimens (14%). No statistically significant differences were found between the presence of HPV DNA in normal specimens and in neoplastic mucosa specimens. No correlation was found between HPV DNA positive tumours and size, T classification, lymph node involvement and histological grading. This study adds further evidence suggesting a possible role of HPV DNA infection in laryngeal carcinogenesis.