Detection of human papillomavirus in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Cancer. 1996 Aug 15;78(4):704-10. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0142(19960815)78:4<704::AID-CNCR2>3.0.CO;2-E.


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA has been identified in esophageal carcinomas. However, the incidence of HPV varies significantly in different geographic locations. In the current study, neoplasms from two separate geographic regions were analyzed for the presence of HPV DNA:

Methods: One hundred and ten esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 83 from Beijing, China and 27 from Cincinnati, Ohio, were examined for the presence of HPV DNA: In situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using both consensus primers for the HPV L1 gene and type specific primers for the E6 gene of HPV types 6, 16, and 18 were performed.

Results: In situ hybridization failed to demonstrate any HPV type (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, or 35) in any tumor specimen. Likewise, PCR using consensus primers for the HPV L1 gene was negative in all samples. Three of the Chinese specimens (4.29%) were positive for HPV using E6 type specific primers. One tumor contained HPV type 6 DNA, whereas the other 2 contained HPV type 16 DNA. One Cincinnati tumor (4.35%) was positive for HPV 16 by type specific primer. None of the specimens contained HPV 18 DNA.

Conclusions: The incidence of HPV DNA in esophageal carcinoma specimens from Beijing, China and Cincinnati, Ohio is similar. The incidence of HPV in tumors from Beijing is significantly lower than that reported for those from other regions of China where the incidence of esophageal cancer is higher. Thus, although HPV may play a role in esophageal carcinogenesis, this role may be more pronounced in those regions of the world with a high incidence of the disease, and may be less important in areas with moderate or low risks for esophageal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / genetics
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / genetics


  • DNA, Neoplasm