Detection of human papillomavirus DNA with in situ hybridisation in oral squamous carcinoma in a rural black population

Van Rensburg, E. J. ; Van Heerden, W. F. P. ; Venter, E. H. ; Raubenheimer, E. J. (1995)


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Intra-oral carcinoma is the third most common malignancy among men in developing countries, and carries a high mortality rate, particularly in Africa, where patients often present initially with lesions at an advanced stage. The present study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in oral squamous carcinoma in the west of the Northern Transvaal, an area where a large number of new cases has been diagnosed over the past few years. Paraffin blocks from 66 cases (51 men, 15 women; mean age 58,7 years) of oral squamous carcinoma were randomly selected. Blocks contained samples of both tumour and adjacent normal epithelium. The presence of HPV antigen was established by means of immunocytochemistry and HPV DNA by in situ hybridisation with radiolabelled probes for HPV-6, 11, 16 and 18. Immunocytochemistry for viral antigen was negative in all the specimens. HPV-18 was detected in normal epithelium adjacent to the tumour in one case only. It appears from our study that HPV is of limited importance in oral squamous cell carcinogenesis in the population studied.

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