High-Risk Human Papillomavirus E6/E7 mRNA Detection by a Novel In Situ Hybridization Assay Strongly Correlates With p16 Expression and Patient Outcomes in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
The American journal of surgical pathology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 09/2011; 35(9):1343-50. DOI: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318220e59d
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is established as causative in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs), being detected in 50% to 80% of tumors by DNA in situ hybridization (ISH) and/or polymerase chain reaction. However, these tests do not assess viral transcription. Many consider E6/E7 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) the best indicator of HPV status, but it has not been detected in situ in OSCC. We constructed tissue microarrays (TMAs) from a cohort of OSCC for which p16 immunohistochemistry and HPV DNA ISH were previously performed on whole sections. We utilized a novel, chromogenic RNA ISH assay called RNAscope to detect E6/E7 mRNA of HPV-16 and other high-risk types on these TMAs. RNA ISH results were obtained for 196 of 211 TMA cases, of which 153 (78.1%) were positive. p16 immunohistochemistry and HPV DNA ISH were positive in 79.0% and 62.4% of cases, respectively. Concordance between RNA and p16, DNA and p16, and RNA and DNA were 96.4%, 78.7%, and 83.5%, respectively. Only 7 cases (3.6%) were discrepant between RNA ISH and p16. In univariate analysis, all 3 tests correlated with better overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), and disease-free survival (DFS) (all P<0.001). In multivariate analysis, OS correlated significantly with RNA (hazard ratio=0.39, P=0.001), DNA (0.53, P=0.03), and p16 (0.30, P<0.001), but DSS and DFS correlated significantly only with p16 (DSS: 0.36, P=0.006; DFS: 0.42, P=0.016). RNA ISH is more sensitive than DNA ISH in detecting HPV in OSCC, and it correlates strongly with p16. Although both tests were comparable, p16 more strongly stratified patient outcomes.

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    • "More recently, an in situ hybridization method has been developed for detection of transcriptionally-active HPV in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. ISH for E6/E7 mRNA is a slide-based chromogenic assay that has been developed under the name RNA scope (Advanced cell diagnostics, Inc., Hayward, CA) (24,25). Results from HPV E6/E7 mRNA ISH were found to be highly concordant with p16 immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR (24,25). "
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate identification of the microscopic risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal (OP) squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and their morphologic variants is of at most importance, as these generally determine treatment modalities, prognosis and overall patient outcome. The great majority of oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas are microscopically described as kerartinizing squamous cell carcinoma (KSCC). They bear certain resemblance to keratinizing stratified squamous epithelium. Tobacco habits and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages have been considered to be the main etiologic agents in these carcinomas. The tumors occurred in older patients more commonly affected the oral tongue and floor of the mouth with well established morphologic risk factors including tumor grade, pattern of invasion and perineural involvement. Within the last 30 years however, the advent and expanding prevalence of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) as an important etiologic agent for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, particularly in the OP, has resulted in a significant change in the established morphologic criteria for risk assessment. The majority of HPV relate carcinomas of the OP are nonkeratinizing squamous cell carcinoma (NKSCC). These tumors are found to be more responsive to treatment with a favorable patient outcome and good prognosis. Consequently, alterations in treatment protocols aimed at de-escalation are currently being evaluated. More recently, other morphologic variants that are HPV positive are reported with increasing frequency in the OP and other head and neck sites. As a result, several clinical and pathologic questions have emerged. Importantly, whether the virus is biologically active in these tumors and involved in their pathogenesis, and second, what are the clinical implications with regard to patient management and outcome in the HPV-related variants. Examples of HPV-related squamous cell carcinoma variants that will be addressed here are: basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC), undifferentiated carcinoma (UCa), papillary squamous carcinoma (PSCC) and small cell carcinoma. Some studies have suggested favorable prognosis in some variants, analogous to that of the (NKSCC), while others showed poorer outcome. So far the number of studies on this subject is limited and the number of cases evaluated in each investigation is few. Because of that, it is prudent at this stage, not to alter management protocols as a result of identification of HPV in these variants and to await additional information Key words:Histopathologic risk-factors, oral cavity, oropharynx, squamous cell carcinoma variants, keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, nonkeratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, HPV, basaloid squamous cell carcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, papillary squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma.
    Medicina oral, patologia oral y cirugia bucal 06/2014; 19(4). DOI:10.4317/medoral.20184 · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    • "Although there have been studies which propose genomic amplification of human telomerase gene or C-MYC as helpful screening methods for HPV-associated cancer/high-grade lesions in cases of uterine cervix [16,17], a gold standard method for detecting HPV-associated OPC has not been established at present. Several studies have mentioned the reliability and accessibility of p16 IHC and ISH for HPV DNA [18-21]. In this study, we used the combined detection method of HPV ISH and p16 IHC according to Singhi et al. [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal carcinoma (HPV-OPC) is clinicopathologically distinct entity from the HPV-unassociated one (nHPV-OPC). This study aimed to determine the relationship between histological subtypes of OPC and HPV status for Japanese cases and to identify histological structures of HPV-OPC. 66 OPC cases were categorized into conventional squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the variants. Conventional SCC was subcategorized into keratinizing (KSCC), non-keratinizing (NKSCC), and hybrid SCC (HSCC). HPV status of all cases was determined using p16-immunohistochemistry and HPV-DNA ISH. Two histological subtypes, NKSCC and HSCC, tended to be HPV-OPC and KSCC tended to be nHPV-OPC with statistical significance. Two histological structures, abrupt keratinization, defined in the text, and comedo-necrosis among non-maturing tumor island, were observed for 58.1% and 38.7% of HPV-OPC, and tended to exist for HPV-OPC with statistical significance. This study showed the association of NKSCC/HSCC with HPV-OPC in Japanese cases, and two histological structures, abrupt keratinization and comedo-necrosis among non-maturing island, were considered characteristic histological features of HPV-OPC.Virtual slides: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
    Diagnostic Pathology 12/2013; 8(1):211. DOI:10.1186/1746-1596-8-211 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    • "While acknowledging that HPV oncogene expression is only part of a complex process of altered molecular pathways in viral - driven cancer , it is against quantitative detection of transcriptionally active virus that we sought to measure a novel HPV test , HR - HPV RNAscope . High - risk HPV RNAscope has previously shown promising capability when compared with other HPV diagnostic tests ( Ukpo et al , 2011 ; Bishop et al , 2012 ) yet validation against an analytical standard had not been possible to date . The Mersey Head and Neck Oncology Research Group tissue collection benefits from a large series of matched fresh - frozen and FFPE tumour samples . "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is now advocated. Demonstration of transcriptionally active high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) in fresh tumour tissue is considered to be the analytical ‘gold standard'. Clinical testing has focused on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue at the expense of sensitivity and specificity. Recently, a novel RNA in situ hybridisation test (RNAscope) has been developed for the detection of HR-HPV in FFPE tissue; however, validation against the ‘gold standard' has not been reported. Methods: A tissue microarray comprising FFPE cores from 79 OPSCC was tested using HR-HPV RNAscope. Analytical accuracy and prognostic capacity were established by comparison with the reference test; qRT–PCR for HR-HPV on matched fresh-frozen samples. Results: High-risk HPV RNAscope had a sensitivity and specificity of 97 and 93%, respectively, against the reference test. Kaplan–Meier estimates of disease-specific survival (DSS, P=0.001) and overall survival (OS, P<0.001) by RNAscope were similar to the reference test (DSS, P=0.003, OS, P<0.001) and at least, not inferior to p16 immunohistochemistry +/− HR-HPV DNA-based tests. Conclusion: HR-HPV RNAscope demonstrates excellent analytical and prognostic performance against the ‘gold standard'. These data suggest that the test could be developed to provide the ‘clinical standard' for assigning a diagnosis of HPV-related OPSCC.
    British Journal of Cancer 02/2013; 108(6). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.63 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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