Prevalence and expression of human papillomavirus in 53 patients with oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma

Anticancer Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):1021-5.


Background/aim: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been considered a potential risk factor for the development of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The purpose of the present study was to investigate HPV infection and high-risk HPV E6/E7 mRNA expression in SCC of the oral tongue in 53 Greek patients.

Materials and methods: Fifty-three biopsies were collected from patients with SCC of the oral tongue and tested for HPV DNA and E6/E7 mRNA expression.

Results: The overall prevalence of HPV DNA was 11.3% (6/53), while high-risk HPV DNA was found in 7.5% (4/53) of SCC of the oral tongue. E6/E7 mRNA expression was observed in 9.4% (5/53) samples examined. HPV 16 was the commonest genotype identified by both DNA and RNA assays. A total of 28.3% (15/53) of the patients were non-smokers and non-drinkers. HPV infection was strongly associated with abstinence from tobacco and alcohol (p=0.013).

Conclusion: The presence of high-risk HPV E6/E7 mRNA expression suggests that HPV may be implicated in the pathogenesis of SCC of the oral tongue.

Keywords: Greek patients; HPV; oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma; oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology*
  • Human papillomavirus 6 / genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 6 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / virology*
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Messenger