To evaluate the relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) status and known prognostic makers for head and neck cancers including tumor hypoxia, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression and intratumoral T-cell levels and to determine the prognostic impact of these markers by HPV status.HPV status in 82 evaluable head and neck squamous cell carcinomas patients was determined by pyrosequencing and related to p16(INK4a) staining and treatment outcomes. It was correlated with tumor hypoxia (tumor pO(2) and carbonic anhydrase [CAIX] staining), EGFR status, and intratumoral lymphocyte expression (CD3 staining).Forty-four percent of evaluable tumors had strong HPV signal by pyrosequencing. There was a significant relationship between strong HPV signal and p16(INK4a) staining as well as oropharynx location. The strong HPV signal group fared significantly better than others, both in time to progression (TTP, p = 0.008) and overall survival (OS, p = 0.004) for all patients and for the oropharyngeal subset. Positive p16(INK4a) staining was associated with better TTP (p = 0.014) and OS (p = 0.00002). There was no relationship between HPV status and tumor pO(2) or CAIX staining. However, HPV status correlated inversely with EGFR reactivity (p = 0.0006) and directly with CD3(+) T-lymphocyte level (p = 0.03). Whereas CAIX and EGFR overexpression were negative prognostic factors regardless of HPV status, CD3(+) T-cell levels was prognostic only in HPV(-) tumors.HPV status was a prognostic factor for progression and survival. It correlated inversely with EGFR expression and directly with T-cell infiltration. The prognostic effect of CAIX and EGFR expression was not influenced by HPV status, whereas intratumoral T-cell levels was significant only for HPV(-) tumors.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.02.015
View details for PubMedID 19427557