Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Between 15% and 35% of HNSCCs harbor HPV DNA. Demographic and exposure differences between HPV-positive (HPV+) and negative (HPV-) HNSCCs suggest that HPV+ tumors may constitute a subclass with different biology, whereas clinical differences have also been observed. Gene expression profiles of HPV+ and HPV - tumors were compared with further exploration of the biological effect of HPV in HNSCC. Thirty-six HNSCC tumors were analyzed using Affymetrix Human 133U Plus 2.0 GeneChip and for HPV by PCR and real-time PCR. Eight of 36 (22%) tumors were positive for HPV subtype 16. Statistical analysis using Significance Analysis of Microarrays based on HPV status as a supervising variable resulted in a list of 91 genes that were differentially expressed with statistical significance. Results for a subset of these genes were verified by real-time PCR. Genes highly expressed in HPV+ samples included cell cycle regulators (p16INK4A, p18, and CDC7) and transcription factors (TAF7L, RFC4, RPA2, and TFDP2). The microarray data were also investigated by mapping genes by chromosomal location (DIGMAP). A large number of genes on chromosome 3q24-qter had high levels of expression in HPV+ tumors. Further investigation of differentially expressed genes may reveal the unique pathways in HPV+ tumors that may explain the different natural history and biological properties of these tumors. These properties may be exploited as a target of novel therapeutic agents in HNSCC treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research