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Keywords:

  • human papillomavirus;
  • esophagus;
  • carcinoma;
  • polymerase chain reaction

Abstract

Strong evidence has implicated human papillomaviruses (HPV) in the pathogenesis of anogenital cancers and a number of other mucosal and cutaneous lesions. Data concerning the involvement of HPV in esophageal cancers are controversial. Different investigators have detected HPV types (mainly types 16 and 18) in biopsy specimens of esophageal cancers. A study was undertaken to determine whether responses to chemotherapy of advanced squamous cell carcinomas could be correlated with the HPV status. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was used for the detection of HPV DNA in biopsies of esophageal squamous cell carcinomas treated with either surgical resection alone (n = 42) or chemotherapy followed by surgical resection (n = 21). Different general and consensus PCR primer sets, which allow the detection of most of the known as well as a number of not yet characterized HPV types, were used. HPV DNA was not detected in any of the 61 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, suggesting that HPV infections are not likely to play a major role in the etiology of this neoplasm. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.