Human papillomaviruses are identified in a subgroup of sinonasal squamous cell carcinomas with favorable outcome




The role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the sinonasal tract and its clinicopathological implications were evaluated.


All SCCs of the sinonasal tract diagnosed in the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona from 1981 to 2006 were retrospectively evaluated (N = 60). Clinical and pathological data were reviewed. HPV infection was determined and typed by amplification of HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction using the SPF-10 primers. p16INK4a expression was determined by immunohistochemistry. Overall and progression-free survival for HPV-positive and -negative patients was estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis and by the use of a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model.


HPV DNA was detected in tumor tissue of 12 of 60 (20%) patients. HPV16 was identified in 11 tumors and HPV35 in 1. Immunohistochemistry for p16INK4a stained all HPV-positive and no HPV-negative tumors (P < .001). No differences were observed in terms of site and histological grade or stage at presentation between HPV-positive and -negative tumors. However, HPV-positive patients had a significantly better 5-year progression-free survival (62%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23%-86% vs 20%; 95% CI, 9%-34%; P = .0043, log-rank test) and overall survival (80%; 95% CI, 20%-96% vs 31%; 95% CI, 15%-47%; P = .036, log-rank test) than patients with HPV-negative tumors. In multivariate analysis, HPV-positive tumors were associated with improved progression-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.17-0.98; P = .012).


A subgroup of sinonasal SCCs is associated with HPV infection. These tumors have a significantly better prognosis. Cancer 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society.