Human papilloma virus (HPV) modulation of the HNSCC epigenome

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)


Currently, the human papilloma virus (HPV), in addition to tobacco and alcohol, is considered another independent risk factor for oropharyngeal squamous head and neck cancer (OPSCC), where the prevalence of HPV-16 increases to 50-90 % for the oropharynx. Also, incidence and mortality in head and neck SCC (HNSCC) continue to be higher in African Americans (AA) than in Caucasian Americans (CA). A recent study found that poorer survival outcomes for AA versus CA with oropharyngeal tumors were attributable to racial differences in the prevalence of HPV positive (+) tumors; HPV negative (-) AA and CA patients had similar outcomes (Settle et al., Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2:776-781, 2009). Evidence indicates that a HPV+ diagnosis has significant prognostic implications; these patients have at least half the risk of death when compared with the HPV- patient, due in part to a better response to chemoradiotherapy (Fakhry et al., J Natl Cancer Inst 100:261-269, 2008).Epigenetic events of promoter hypermethylation are emerging as promising molecular strategies for cancer detection, representing tumor-specific markers occurring early in tumor progression. HPV infection is now recognized to play a role in the pathogenesis of OPSCC, where HPV+ and HPV- patients appear to be clinically and biologically distinct with reported genome-wide hypomethylation and promoter hypermethylation in HPV+ HNSCC tumors. A recent study from our group applying pathway analysis to investigate the biological role of the differentially methylated genes in HPV+ and HPV- HNSCC reported 8 signal transduction pathways germane to HNSCC (Worsham et al., Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 149:409-416, 2013).

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Adult; Aged; Carcinoma, Squamous Cell; DNA Methylation; Epigenomics; Female; Head and Neck Neoplasms; Human papillomavirus 16; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction; Signal Transduction; Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck

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