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Correlation between histological type of epidermoid carcinoma in the head and neck and the presence of HPV assessed by P16 imunoexpression


Introduction: Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) is a malignant disease entity with a high prevalence in the world population. Among its major risk factors, there is a persistent infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which has been related to a better prognosis in patients. HPV infection results in an immunoreactivity of p16 protein that has been used as a marker of the oncogenic lineage by this etiologic agent. The lack of national case series relating the HNSCC with HPV and p16 encouraged us to develop this research. Objective: To analyze epidemiological aspects of patients affected by HNSCC (age, sex and location of the lesion), and relate them to the prevalence of HPV infection. To evaluate the presence of virus stigmas in the samples (koilocytes). To correlate histological types and differentiation of HNSCC positive for p16.

Methods: We have analyzed 51 cases of HNSCC diagnosed between January 2005 and December 2015, seeking epidemiological profile of patients, and being the samples subjected to histopathology and immunohistochemistry for p16.

Results: Of the 51 cases evaluated, 42 were males and 9 females, mean age of 61 years. There was a higher percentage of tumors affecting the larynx (43%), with higher prevalence of keratinized cancers on non keratinized. Koilocytosis was observed in 56.9% of cases, and immunostaining for p16 was 49.02%, predominantly in tumors not keratinized (p=0.03532).

Conclusion: The present study has demonstrated that the infection prevalence of HPV in HNSCC, through the immunostaining with p16, was present in 49.02% of cases. Toward the epidemiological profile, carcinomas were more common in male individuals with middle ages of 61 years and in the larynx as more often topography. Koilocytosis was found in 29 cases, corresponding to 56.86% of our sample. The immunoreactivity of p16 protein predominated in non-keratinized tumors.


Head and neck carcinoma, Human papilloma virus, p16, Squamous cell carcinoma, National Cancer Institute José Alencar Gomes da Silva, Non-keratinized, Polymerase chain reaction, Immune-histochemistry, Retinoblastoma protein, Tissue micro arrays, Tongue cavity, Pharynx, Larynx, Salivary glands, Prognostic marker