Purpose: The importance of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in the outcome of cervical cancer after radiotherapy remains unknown. Our study explored whether the HPV status of tumors is associated with the outcome of radiotherapy in patients with cervical cancer.
Methods and materials: A total of 84 patients with cervical cancer (6 Stage I, 10 Stage II, 49 Stage III, and 19 Stage IV) who underwent definitive radiotherapy between January 1995 and June 2000 were included in this study. Tumor samples were obtained from all patients by punch biopsy before radiotherapy. The presence of HPV and its type were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assay using the consensus primers for E6 and L1 regions. Actuarial methods were used to calculate overall survival and disease-free survival.
Results: A total of 42 patients (50%) had cancer recurrence after radiotherapy. HPV-positive tumors were found in 76.2% (64 cases) of patients. HPV-negative patients survived for significantly shorter time periods compared to the HPV-positive patients in the overall survival (p = 0.007) and the disease-free survival (p = 0.005). According to multivariate analysis, HPV status is a significant predictor of both overall (p = 0.02) and disease-free survival time (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that HPV-negative patients with cervical carcinoma have a significantly poorer prognosis after radiotherapy, and HPV status may be used as a marker to optimize the treatment of patients with this type of cancer.