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Prevalence of human papilloma virus in oropharyngeal, tongue and lip squamous cell carcinoma: an experience from the Egyptian National Cancer Institute
  1. Safy Hosny Tealab1,
  2. Nevine F H Sedhom1,
  3. Ashraf Hassouna2,
  4. Iman Gouda1,
  5. Hoda Ismail1
  1. 1 Surgical Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Egypt
  2. 2 Radiation Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Egypt
  1. Correspondence to Dr Safy Hosny Tealab, Surgical Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo, 11311, Egypt; safyahmad2{at}


Human papilloma virus (HPV) is now a well-known risk factor for head and neck cancer besides smoking and alcohol. Most studies mentioned that patients affected with high-risk HPV cancers have a better outcome, and many clinical trials are trying to prove that such group of patients can receive a different and less aggressive treatment than the HPV-negative group. Although such field has received great interest within different countries and continents, African and Egyptian populations are not yet well studied within the literature. Our aim was to detect the prevalence of HPV in oropharyngeal (OP), lip and tongue squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) and correlate the viral prevalence with different clinicopathologic parameters as well as patients’ outcome. HPV detection was done on 99 cases from the lip (29), tongue (38) and oropharynx (32) diagnosed at the Pathology Department of the National Cancer Institute, Cairo University. p16 immunohistochemistry was performed on all cases, followed by HPV DNA in situ hybridization (ISH) for p16-positive cases. The prevalence of HPV in OPSSC was 28% and in lip and tongue cancers lumped together was 37%. There was more than 90% concordance between p16 and HPV DNA ISH results. HPV positivity showed a statistically significant correlation with better disease-free survival (DFS), which was also maintained for OP cases. HPV is highly prevalent in OP and common oral cavity cancers in the Egyptian population. HPV positivity correlated significantly with better DFS, especially in OP cancers.

  • carcinoma, squamous cell
  • oral medicine

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  • Contributors IG, NFHS, AH and HI conceived and designed the study. SHA performed the laboratory work. IG and SHA wrote the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.