Genomic profiling identifies common HPV-associated chromosomal alterations in squamous cell carcinomas of cervix and head and neck

S.M. Wilting, S.J. Smeets, P.J.F. Snijders, W.N. van Wieringen, M.A. van de Wiel, C.J.L.M. Meijer, B. Ijlstra, C.R. Leemans, G.A. Meijer, R.H. Brakenhoff, B.J.M. Braakhuis, R.D.M. Steenbergen

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Background. It is well known that a persistent infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) is causally involved in the development of squamous cell carcinomas of the uterine cervix (CxSCCs) and a subset of SCCs of the head and neck (HNSCCs). The latter differ from hrHPV-negative HNSCCs at the clinical and molecular level. Methods. To determine whether hrHPV-associated SCCs arising from different organs have specific chromosomal alterations in common, we compared genome-wide chromosomal profiles of 10 CxSCCs (all hrHPV-positive) with 12 hrHPV-positive HNSCCs and 30 hrHPV-negative HNSCCs. Potential organ-specific alterations and alterations shared by SCCs in general were investigated as well. Results. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering resulted in one mainly hrHPV-positive and one mainly hrHPV-negative cluster. Interestingly, loss at 13q and gain at 20q were frequent in HPV-positive carcinomas of both origins, but uncommon in hrHPV-negative HNSCCs, indicating that these alterations are associated with hrHPV-mediated carcinogenesis. Within the group of hrHPV-positive carcinomas, HNSCCs more frequently showed gains of multiple regions at 8q whereas CxSCCs more often showed loss at 17p. Finally, gains at 3q24-29 and losses at 11q22.3-25 were frequent (>50%) in all sample groups. Conclusion. In this study hrHPV-specific, organ-specific, and pan-SCC chromosomal alterations were identified. The existence of hrHPV-specific alterations in SCCs of different anatomical origin, suggests that these alterations are crucial for hrHPV-mediated carcinogenesis. © 2009 Wilting et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalBMC Medical Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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