Primary squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina: human papillomavirus detection, p16INK4A overexpression and clinicopathological correlations


J Ordi, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Hospital Clínic, C/Villarroel 170, 08036-Barcelona, Spain. e-mail:


Fuste V, del Pino M, Perez A, Garcia A, Torne A, Pahisa J & Ordi J
(2010) Histopathology57, 907–916

Primary squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina: human papillomavirus detection, p16INK4Aoverexpression and clinicopathological correlations

Aim:  To determine the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of primary squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina (SCCVa), and to evaluate its clinicopathological significance.

Methods and results:  All cases of SCCVa diagnosed over a 15-year period from two hospitals in Barcelona, Spain (= 32) were retrieved. Patients with a history of carcinoma of the cervix diagnosed <5 years before were excluded. HPV was detected and typed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using SPF10 primers. Immunohistochemistry was performed for p16 and p53. HPV was detected in 25 cases (78.1%). HPV16 was the most prevalent type. Patients with HPV-positive tumours were associated frequently with a history of carcinoma or intraepithelial neoplasia of the cervix or vulva diagnosed more than 5 years before (56% versus 0%; = 0.01). HPV-positive tumours were more frequently of non-keratinizing, basaloid or warty type than HPV-negative neoplasms (84% versus 14.3%; < 0.001), and showed diffuse positive immunoreactivity for p16INK4a (96%, versus 14.3%; < 0.001). The sensitivity and specificity of p16 to identify HPV-positive tumours were 96% and 85.7%, respectively.

Conclusions:  A high number of SCCVs are related to HPV infection and may be identified by immunohistochemistry for p16. HPV-positive tumours tend to affect women with history of cervical neoplasia.