HPV16 DNA in histologically confirmed tumour-free neck lymph nodes of head and neck cancers.Anticancer Res. 2006 Jan-Feb; 26(1B):663-70.AR
Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been demonstrated in lymph node neck metastases (NM) of HPV-positive squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC), underscoring the possible role of HPV for HNSCC progression. Reports on HPV infections in histopathologically tumour-free lymph-nodes of the SCC of the uterine cervix developing higher rates of lymph-node metastases and recurrences later in the survey of the patients was the starting point of the present study.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The presence of HPV-DNA in primary tumours (PT, n=45), NM (n=45) and histologically confirmed tumour-free neck lymph-nodes (LN, n=102) of HNSCC from 60 patients was analysed by PCR and Southern blot hybridisation.
A highly positive correlation of simultaneous HPV-DNA detection in PT and NM was demonstrated. In the case of HPV-positivity of PT and/or NM [24/60 cases (40%)], 11/24 (45.8%) LN contained HPV-DNA, as well. Accepting HPV demonstration as a marker for the presence of micro-metastasis, HPV analysis would result in an upstaging of the N category in 4 out of these 11 patients.
Considering the high agreement of HPV-DNA detection in PT and simultaneous HPV-DNA demonstration in the draining NM corroborating the monoclonal character of the tumour cells, the HPV-DNA presence in LN seems to be indicative of micro-metastasis in these lymph nodes. Thus, HPV analysis might be another powerful tool for the definition of the N-status of HPV-positive HNSCC.