Analysis of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Polyomaviruses (HPyVs) in Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (AdCC) of the Head and Neck Region Reveals Three HPV-Positive Cases with Adenoid Cystic-like Features

Viruses. 2022 May 13;14(5):1040. doi: 10.3390/v14051040.


An aetiological role of human papillomavirus (HPV) and/or human polyomaviruses (HPyVs) has been proposed in adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC). Moreover, HPV-related multiphenotypic carcinoma (HMSC) was recently introduced as an emerging entity of the sinonasal region. Here, we primarily want to study the role of HPV/HPyV in a large AdCC cohort and, secondly, possibly identify and characterize HMSC. Tumour DNA from 68 patients initially diagnosed with AdCC between 2000 and 2012 was, therefore, tested for 27 HPV types and 10 HPyVs. HPV DNA-positive samples were micromorphologically re-evaluated, further stained for p16INK4a, S100, p63 and CD117 and tested for the presence of the MYB-NFIB fusion transcript. Notably, no samples were HPyV-positive, while one sinonasal and two tonsillar carcinomas were HPV- and p16-positive. After re-evaluating the micromorphology, immunohistochemistry and presence of fusion transcripts, all tumours had the same appearance and fitted within the diagnosis of HMSC, but in all these three cases, the morphology of the HMSC and basaloid squamous cell carcinoma was overlapping. We conclude that HPV and HPyV have no major role in AdCC. However, based on our data, we also suggest that HMSC should be considered as a basaloid variant of squamous cell carcinoma, and not its own entity, until better characterized.

Keywords: HPV-related multiphenotypic sinonasal carcinoma; adenoid cystic carcinoma; basaloid carcinoma; histopathology; human papillomavirus; human papillomavirus carcinoma with adenoid cystic-like features; human polyomavirus; molecular pathology; pathology of tumours; salivary gland malignancies; virology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoids* / pathology
  • Alphapapillomavirus*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell*
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Polyomavirus* / genetics

Grants and funding

This research was funded by THE SWEDISH CANCER FOUNDATION, grant numbers 200778P, 200704P, 200764Fk and 210292JCIA; STOCKHOLMS LÄNS LANDSTING (ALF), grant number 20200059; THE CANCER AND ALLERGY FOUNDATION, grant numbers 10127 and 10137; MAGNUS BERGVALLS STIFTELSE, grant number 2020-03737; TORNSPIRAN, grant number 2021; THE STOCKHOLM CANCER SOCIETY, grant numbers 201242 and 201092; SVENSKA LÄKARESÄLLSKAPET, grant number SLS-935256 and Stiftelsen Sigurd och Elsa Goljes Minne (Lindhés Advokatbyrå) LA2021-0005, and Karolinska Institutet.