Prevalence of HPV infection in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese patients and its relationship to the p53 gene mutation.
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Human papillomavirus (HPV), in particular types 16 and 18, is positively associated with anogenital cancers and may be an important etiologic factor in their pathogenesis. The goal of our study was to investigate the role of HPV infection in the pathogenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and its relationship with the p53 mutation. We have examined ESCC collected from Sichuan, China, for the presence of HPV infection and p53 mutation. The presence of HPV DNA was detected by PCR-Southern analysis while the p53 mutation was analyzed by PCR-SSCP. High-risk HPV (types 16 and 18) DNA was detected in 32 out of 152 cases of ESCC examined. In contrast, HPV DNA was not detected in normal esophageal tissues excised from the distant end (tumor free) of resected ESCC. Mutation of the p53 gene was detected in 22 out of 55 cases of ESCC. The distribution of the 22 p53 mutation was: 5 in exon 5, 1 in exon 6, 5 in exon 7, 10 in exon 8 and 1 in exon 10. The p53 mutation was detected at a significantly lower rate in ESCC with HPV infection. Our results support a role of HPV infection in the pathogenesis of ESCC from a high-incidence area.