Expression of p53 protein related to the presence of human papillomavirus infection in precancer lesions of the larynx

Am J Pathol. 1995 Mar;146(3):599-604.


The aim of this study was to gain some insight into the relationship of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection to p53 expression and to some pathological parameters in precancerous lesions of the larynx. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections containing human laryngeal precancerous lesions were screened for p53 protein by immunohistochemistry with the monoclonal antibody DO7 and for the presence of HPV infection by polymerase chain reaction with consensus primers directed against the E6 gene. The presence of p53 protein was detected in 31 of 57 specimens (54.4%) including 7 of 9 cases with mild dysplasia (78%), in 4 of 9 cases with moderate dysplasia (44%), and in 15 of 23 cases with severe dysplasia (65%). Of 16 samples with keratotic benign squamous metaplasia, 5 were also p53 positive (31%). Of 6 samples that were HPV positive, all were of type 16. Interestingly, 3 of the 6 HPV-positive samples were p53 negative. There was 1 HPV-positive case with strong p53 staining and 2 HPV-positive cases with minimal p53 staining. The 2 HPV-positive cases with minimal p53 staining had mild dysplasia. The HPV-positive case with strong p53 staining displayed severe dysplasia. Of 23 cases that were both HPV and p53 negative, 11 presented with keratosis and no dysplasia, 5 with moderate dysplasia, and 7 with severe dysplasia. Our data indicate that nuclear accumulation of p53 protein, presumably resulting from p53 gene mutation, may occur in HPV-infected epithelial tissues. On the other hand, there are many precancer lesions, some exhibiting moderate or severe dysplasia, that are both HPV negative and p53 unreactive, suggesting that alterations of genes other than the E6 oncogene and the p53 tumor suppressor gene play a role in early laryngeal carcinogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Tumor Virus Infections / metabolism*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / pathology


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53