Background: Patients with hypopharyngeal cancer have a 5-year survival of only 15% to 30%. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor and a favorable prognostic factor for oropharyngeal carcinoma and p16 has been suggested as a surrogate marker for HPV-induced cancer. However, few studies have been performed on HPV and p16 in hypopharyngeal cancer.
Methods: One hundred nine pretreatment hypopharyngeal cancer biopsies were analyzed for presence of HPV and p16 overexpression, and the results were correlated to patient survival.
Results: Of 109 tumors, 7 were HPV-positive (4 HPV16) and 18 overexpressed p16. There was some correlation between survival and HPV status, but not with regard to p16 expression. Notably, all patients with HPV16-positive tumors, also overexpressing p16, lived tumor free for more than 3 years.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that HPV-induced hypopharyngeal cancer is rare and that p16 is not a suitable biomarker for presence of HPV in this tumor type.
Keywords: head and neck cancer; human papillomavirus; hypopharynx; overall survival; p16.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.