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.