Allelic loss in human papillomavirus-positive and -negative vulvar squamous cell carcinomas

Am J Pathol. 1999 Apr;154(4):1009-15. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65353-9.


Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) is a biologically and morphologically diverse disease, consisting of human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive and -negative tumors that differ in their morphological phenotypes and associated vulvar mucosal disorders. This study analyzed the frequencies of allelic loss (loss of heterozygosity (LOH)) in HPV-positive and -negative VSCCs to identify potential targets for the study of preinvasive diseases, to determine whether HPV status influenced patterns of LOH, and to determine whether these patterns differed from HPV-positive tumors of another genital site, cervical squamous cell carcinomas (CSCC). DNA extracted from microdissected archival sections of two index tumors, one each HPV negative and positive, was analyzed for LOH at 65 chromosomal loci. Loci scoring positive with either sample were included in an analysis of 14 additional cases that were also typed for HPV. Frequencies of LOH at loci were computed in a panel of HPV-positive and -negative VSCCs. Twenty-nine loci demonstrated LOH on the initial screen and were used to screen the remaining 14 tumors. High frequencies of LOH were identified, some of which were similar to a prior karyotypic study (3p, 5q, 8p, 10q, 15q, 18q, and 22q) and others of which had not previously been described in VSCC (1q, 2q, 8q, 10p, 11p, 11q, 17p, and 21q). With the exception of 5q and 10p, there were no significant associations between frequency of LOH and HPV status in VSCC. LOH at 3p and 11q were frequent in both VSCC and CSCC; however, allelic losses at several sites, including 5q, 8q, 17p, 21q, and 22q, were much more common in VSCC. VSCCs exhibit a broad range of allelic losses irrespective of HPV status, with high frequencies of LOH on certain chromosomal arms. This suggests that despite their differences in pathogenesis, both HPV-positive and -negative VSCCs share similarities in type and range of genetic losses during their evolution. Whether the different frequencies of LOH observed between VSCC and CSCC are real or reflect differences in stage and/or tumor size remains to be determined by further comparisons. The role of these altered genetic loci in the genesis of preinvasive vulvar mucosal lesions merits additional study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / virology