HPV E6 oncoproteins and nucleic acids in neck lymph node fine needle aspirates and oral samples from patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma Academic Article uri icon

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  • Commercial assays measuring HPV E6 viral oncoproteins, E6/E7 mRNA or DNA were used to test neck lymph node fine needle aspirates (FNA) and oropharyngeal samples (saliva and oral swabs) from 59 Canadian patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC). Overall agreements of p16 antigen staining of tumors to FNA tested for OncoE6™, Aptima HPV E6/E7 mRNA and cobas HPV DNA were 81.4% (k 0.53), 94.9% (k 0.83) and 91.1% (k 0.73) respectively. Using HPV presence in a subset of 25 tumors as the comparator, overall agreement was 64.0% (k 0.08) with OncoE6™, 88.0% (k 0.65) with Aptima HPV E6/E7 mRNA and 91.7% (k 0.70) with cobas HPV DNA. HPV testing of oropharyngeal samples yielded lower agreements with tumor markers; 23.7-24.0% (k 0.02), 55.9-68.0% (k 0.24-0.37) and 78.9-86.9% (k 0.49-0.58) in the 3 respective tests. HPV 16 was present in 93.7-100% of the samples tested and showed 100% genotype agreement between FNA and tumors. The high rates for HPV E6 oncoproteins and E6/E7 mRNA suggests most patients were experiencing transcriptionally active HPV-related OPSCC. Results from these commercial assays performed on FNA but not oropharyngeal samples showed moderate to very good agreements with p16 and HPV testing of tumors.


  • Chernesky, Max
  • Jang, D
  • Schweizer, J
  • Arias, M
  • Doerwald-Munoz, L
  • Gupta, M
  • Jackson, Stanley
  • Archibald, S
  • Young, J
  • Lytwyn, A
  • Smieja, M
  • Severini, A
  • Ecobichon-Morris, A
  • Hyrcza, M

publication date

  • December 2018