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Combined Testing of p16 Tumour-suppressor Protein and Human Papillomavirus in Patients With Oral Leukoplakia and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Journal article
Authors Jonas Sundberg
Magdalena Korytowska
Patricia Miranda Burgos
Johan Blomgren
Lena Blomstrand
Shahin DE Lara
Lars Sand
Jan-Micháel Hirsch
Erik Holmberg
Daniel Giglio
Jenny Öhman
Anikó Kovács
Peter Horal
Magnus Lindh
Göran Kjeller
Bengt Hasséus
Published in Anticancer research
Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 1293-1300
ISSN 1791-7530
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 1293-1300
Language en
Keywords Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, metabolism, virology, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16, metabolism, DNA, Viral, analysis, Female, Humans, Leukoplakia, Oral, metabolism, virology, Male, Middle Aged, Mouth Neoplasms, metabolism, virology, Papillomaviridae, genetics, Papillomavirus Infections, metabolism, virology
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology, Dentistry


Oral leukoplakia (OL) is a potentially malignant oral mucosal disorder. A casual association between OL, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been suggested, but no conclusive evidence has been presented. p16, a tumour-suppressor protein, is used as a surrogate marker for HPV infection. The aim of this study was to investigate how overexpression of p16 correlates with HPV infection in OL and in OSCC.Seventy-four patients with OL and 13 with OSCC with p16 overexpressed, were analyzed by immunohistochemistry visualizing p16 and a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay targeting HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 52, 56, 58 and 59.Overexpression of p16 was observed in 18% of patients with OL. None of the HPV subtypes were detected by PCR analysis in patients with OL. In the p16-positive OSCC specimens, 38% were also HPV16-positive.Overexpression of p16 was not found to be a reliable biomarker for HPV infection in patients with OL and OSCC.

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