Aim: To investigate the presence of high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs) in a non-selected Mexican population.
Methods: Cases with a pathological diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus were obtained from Department of Pathology files, at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City during the period between 2000 and 2008. Slides from each case were reviewed and cases with sufficient neoplastic tissue were selected for molecular analysis. DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded tissue samples for polymerase chain reaction analysis to detect HPV DNA sequences. Demographic and clinical data of each patient were retrieved from corresponding clinical records.
Results: HPV was detected in 15 (25%) of ESCCs. HPV-16 was the most frequently observed genotype, followed by HPV-18; HPV-59 was also detected in one case. Unfortunately, HPV genotype could not be established in three cases due to lack of material for direct sequencing, although universal primers detected the presence of HPV generic sequences. No low-risk HPV genotypes were found nor was HPV-16/18 co-infection. HPV presence in ESCC was not significantly associated with gender, age, alcohol consumption, smoking, anatomic location, or histologic grade. All patients belonged to low and very low socioeconomic strata, and were diagnosed at advanced disease stage. Male patients were most commonly affected and the male:female ratio in HPV-positive ESCC increased two-fold in comparison with HPV-negative cases (6.5:1 vs 3.1:1).
Conclusion: High prevalence of high-risk HPV in ESCC in Mexico does not support the hypothesis that HPV-associated ESCC is more common in areas with higher ESCC incidence rates.