Mario Poljak

University of Ljubljana, Lubliano, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Publications (291)769.38 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Laryngeal carcinogenesis is a multistep process, characterized by an accumulation of genetic changes associated with architectural and cytologic alterations, ranging from squamous hyperplasia to carcinoma in situ and encompassed by the terminology of squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs). The etiology, classification, genetic changes, and malignant progression of these lesions are reviewed. Tobacco remains the principal etiological factor with gastroesophageal reflux disease recently considered as a possible factor. In contrast, there is little evidence that microbiological agents, especially human papillomavirus infection, are frequently involved in laryngeal carcinogenesis and probably <10% of SILs are driven by biologically active human papillomavirus infection. Light microscopy, despite a degree of subjectivity, remains the mainstay of accurate diagnosis, prognosis, and guidance for a patient’s treatment. The currently used classifications, the dysplasia system, squamous intraepithelial neoplasia, and the Ljubljana classification, reflect different standpoints on this important topic. The modified Ljubljana classification, with good interobserver agreement, could be considered as a proposal for a unified classification of laryngeal SILs. This review also briefly discusses recently discovered genetic changes, such as CDKN2A and CTNNB1 genes, and chromosome instability of chromosomes 1 and 7; however, none of these can at present improve histologic diagnosis. Malignant progression of precursor lesions varies from 2% to 74%, according to different studies. Cold-steel microinstruments, CO2 laser, and radiotherapy are used to treat the different grades of precursor lesions. There is as yet no worldwide agreement on the treatment of high-grade lesions and carcinoma in situ.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2016 · Advances in Anatomic Pathology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Background: We conducted a large international study to estimate fractions of head and neck cancers (HNCs) attributable to human papillomavirus (HPV-AFs) using six HPV-related biomarkers of viral detection, transcription, and cellular transformation. Methods: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded cancer tissues of the oral cavity (OC), pharynx, and larynx were collected from pathology archives in 29 countries. All samples were subject to histopathological evaluation, DNA quality control, and HPVDNA detection. Samples containing HPV-DNA were further subject to HPV E6*I mRNA detection and to p16INK4a, pRb, p53, and Cyclin D1 immunohistochemistry. Final estimates of HPV-AFs were based on HPV-DNA, HPV E6*I mRNA, and/or p16INK4a results. Results: A total of 3680 samples yielded valid results: 1374 pharyngeal, 1264 OC, and 1042 laryngeal cancers. HPVAF estimates based on positivity for HPV-DNA, and for either HPV E6*I mRNA or p16INK4a, were 22.4%, 4.4%, and 3.5% for cancers of the oropharynx, OC, and larynx, respectively, and 18.5%, 3.0%, and 1.5% when requiring simultaneous positivity for all three markers. HPV16 was largely the most common type. Estimates of HPV-AF in the oropharynx were highest in South America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Northern Europe, and lowest in Southern Europe. Women showed higher HPV-AFs than men for cancers of the oropharynx in Europe and for the larynx in Central-South America. Conclusions: HPV contribution to HNCs is substantial but highly heterogeneous by cancer site, region, and sex. This study, the largest exploring HPV attribution in HNCs, confirms the important role of HPVs in oropharyngeal cancer and drastically downplays the previously reported involvement of HPVs in the other HNCs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of the National Cancer Institute
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    Full-text · Dataset · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The HIV-1 epidemic in Slovenia, a small Central European country, has some characteristics that make it an ideal model to study HIV-1 transmission. The epidemic is predominantly affecting men who have sex with men infected with subtype B (89% of all patients), has a low prevalence (less than 1/1000) and is growing slowly. The aim of the present study was to analyze in detail the evolutionary history and the determinants of transmission. Methods: A total of 223 partial pol gene sequences from therapy naïve individuals were included, representing 52% of all patients newly diagnosed in 13 years (2000-2012) and analyzed together with genetically similar worldwide sequences, selected in a BLAST search. Results: Combined analysis (maximum likelihood and Bayesian) of HIV-1 transmission chains revealed 8 major clusters (n ≥ 10 patients), 1 group of 4 patients, 2 trios and 12 transmission pairs, thus leaving only 43 (19.3%) Slovenian patients infected with subtype B without a local epidemiological link, indicating a predominance of local transmission of HIV-1 infection. Bayesian analysis performed on a full set of sequences estimated several introductions of HIV-1 into Slovenia, with the most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) of the earliest Slovenian cluster dated to the late 1980s, although tMRCAs obtained from separate independent analysis of each cluster showed considerably more recent estimates. These findings indicate inconsistencies in molecular clock estimation, which we further explored. We hypothesize that these inconsistent dating estimates across the tree could be caused by an evolutionary rate acceleration of HIV-1 after entering the Slovenia epidemic that is not taken into account by the molecular clock model. It could be caused by a lower transmission rate in this setting, as demonstrated by the low epidemic growth rate estimated by Bayesian skyline plot analysis. Conclusions: HIV-1 subtype B was introduced into Slovenia at several time points from the late 80s onward. The majority of patients had a local transmission link, indicating a closed HIV community. The observed slower epidemic rate suggests that individuals with a long-lasting infection are the driving force of the epidemic in this region.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Infectious Diseases
  • Susanna Esposito · Ron Dagan · Mario Poljak

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Numerous studies have shown that baseline drug resistance patterns may influence the outcome of antiretroviral therapy. Therefore guidelines recommend drug resistance testing to guide the choice of initial regimen. In addition to optimizing individual patient management, these baseline resistance data enable transmitted drug resistance (TDR) to be surveyed for public health purposes. The SPREAD-program systematically collects data to gain insight into TDR occurring in Europe since 2001. Methods: Demographic, clinical and virological data from 4,140 antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected individuals from 26 countries who were newly diagnosed between 2008 and 2010 were analyzed. Evidence of TDR was defined using the WHO list for surveillance of drug resistance mutations. Prevalence of TDR was assessed over time by comparing the results to SPREAD data from 2002-2007. Baseline susceptibility to antiretroviral drugs was predicted using Stanford HIVdb v7.0. Results: The overall prevalence of TDR did not change significantly over time and was 8.3% (95%CI 7.2-9.5) in 2008-2010. The most frequent indicators of TDR were NRTI-mutations (4.5%), followed by NNRTI-mutations (2.9%) and PI-mutations (2.0%). Baseline mutations were most predictive of reduced susceptibility to initial NNRTI-based regimens: 4.5% and 6.5% of patient isolates were predicted to have resistance to regimens containing efavirenz or rilpivirine respectively, independent of current NRTI backbones. Conclusions: Although TDR was highest for NRTIs, the impact of baseline drug resistance patterns on susceptibility was largest for NNRTIs. The prevalence of TDR assessed by epidemiological surveys does not clearly indicate to what degree susceptibility to different drug classes is affected.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Testing for high-risk HPV is more effective in primary cervical cancer screening than the cytological examination of a Pap smear. Separate genotyping may be useful for triage in both HPV-based and cytology-based screening. Only clinically validated tests should be used in clinical practice. Objectives: VALGENT is a study framework for test comparison and validation of HPV assays in general and HPV genotyping tests in particular according to clinically relevant outcomes and for clinical applications endorsed by scientific evidence. Study design: VALGENT involves the collation of fresh or archived cervical cell specimen from women attending routine screening supplemented with cytologically abnormal samples. Multiple aliquots of residual material are sent from a central laboratory to participating laboratories for testing with novel HPV assays with limited, extended or full genotyping capacity. Outcomes are derived from screening and pathology registries. Each VALGENT panel includes an assay already validated for screening. A series of accuracy and concordance statistics were generated. Results: Currently, two VALGENT study rounds, originated from laboratories in Antwerp (Belgium) and Edinburgh (Scotland), were completed. Two new assays (G5+/6+ PCR-LMNX and Xpert HPV) were validated for screening by showing similar accuracy for cervical precancer as the standard comparator test. For two other tests (BD Onclarity, PapilloCheck) validation was confirmed. Inter-test agreement was high although certain type-specific discordances were observed which warrant further analysis. Conclusion: VALGENT extends current guidelines for high-risk HPV test validation in cervical cancer screening and has produced a large study resource for test comparison. More robust procedures of sample selection and handling and integration with the global WHO reference laboratory network focusing on analytical accuracy, may result in the generation of an international standard and a formalized system for clinical validation of HPV assays and quality control in HPV-based screening.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
  • Mario Poljak · Christine C. Ginocchio

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Testing cervical smears for the presence of high-risk human papillomaviruses (hrHPV) increases the sensitivity for detecting women with underlying high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and provides better and longer protection against invasive cervical cancer compared to cytology testing alone. The Abbott RealTime High Risk HPV test (RealTime) is a hrHPV DNA test with concurrent partial genotyping for HPV16 and HPV18 and aggregate detection of 12 other hrHPV types that have been extensively analytically and clinically evaluated over the last 6 years.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Commercial molecular tests for human papillomaviruses (HPV) are invaluable diagnostic tools in cervical carcinoma screening and management of women with cervical precancerous lesions as well as important research tools for epidemiological studies, vaccine development, and implementation and monitoring of vaccination programs. In this third inventory of commercial HPV tests, we identified 193 distinct commercial HPV tests and at least 127 test variants available on the market in 2015, which represents a 54% and 79% increase in the number of distinct HPV tests and variants, respectively, in comparison to our last inventory performed in 2012. Identified HPV tests were provisionally divided into eight main groups and several subgroups. Among the 193 commercial HPV tests, all but two target alpha-HPV types only. Although the number of commercial HPV tests with at least one published study in peer-reviewed literature has increased significantly in the last three years, several published performance evaluations are still not in line with agreed-upon standards in the HPV community. Manufacturers should invest greater effort into evaluating their products and publishing validation/evaluation results in peer-reviewed journals. To achieve this, more clinically oriented external quality-control panels and initiatives are required. For evaluating the analytical performance of the entire range of HPV tests currently on the market, more diverse and reliable external quality-control programs based on international standards for all important HPV types are indispensable. The performance of a wider range of HPV tests must be promptly evaluated on a variety of alternative clinical specimens. In addition, more complete HPV assays containing validated sample-extraction protocols and appropriate internal controls are urgently needed. Provision of a broader range of automated systems allowing large-scale HPV testing as well as the development of reliable, rapid, and affordable molecular point-of-care tests are priorities for the further improvement of HPV tests.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
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    Boštjan J Kocjan · Lea Hošnjak · Mario Poljak
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    ABSTRACT: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens stored in pathology departments worldwide are an invaluable source for diagnostic purposes when fresh clinical material is unavailable as well as for retrospective molecular and epidemiological studies, especially when dealing with rare clinical conditions for which prospective collection is not feasible. Accurate detection of HPV infection in these specimens is particularly challenging because nucleic acids are often degraded and therefore, not suitable for amplification of larger fragments of the viral genome or viral gene transcripts. This review provides a brief summary of molecular methods for detecting alpha-HPV DNA/RNA in FFPE tissue specimens. We specifically address the key procedural and environmental factors that have the greatest impact on the quality of nucleic acids extracted from FFPE tissue specimens, and describe some solutions that can be used to increase their integrity and/or amplifiability. Moreover, commonly used methods for HPV DNA/RNA detection in FFPE tissue specimens are presented and discussed, focusing on studies using polymerase chain reaction as an HPV detection method and published after 1999. Finally, we briefly summarize our 22 years of experience with HPV detection in FFPE tissue specimens.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
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    Boštjan J. Kocjan · Lea Hošnjak · Mario Poljak
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues represent an invaluable source for diagnostic purposes when fresh clinical material is unavailable, and also for molecular and epidemiological studies. The recovery of nucleic acids from FFPE tissues is particularly challenging, and several in-house methods have been developed for this purpose over the last three decades. Recently, several commercial kits specifically developed for DNA and/or RNA extraction from FFPE tissues have been introduced to the market, but their inventory is not available in peer-reviewed literature. Methods: This article provides the first comprehensive inventory of commercial FFPE DNA/RNA extraction kits currently available on the market and describes their basic characteristics and features. Results: A total of 69 commercial kits from 43 companies were identified. Thirty-five kits were developed specifically for DNA extraction, 22 for RNA extraction, and 12 for both DNA and RNA extraction. Only two commercial kits allow full automation of the entire nucleic acid extraction procedure. The tissue deparaffinization step is omitted in many protocols by melting paraffin directly in a tissue lysis buffer. Purification of the released nucleic acids is mainly based on silica or resin adsorption technology. A formalin reverse cross-linking step to increase the quality of extracted DNA and RNA is an intrinsic part of over half of the kits identified. Conclusions: It is hope that this comprehensive list of available commercial kits for extracting nucleic acids from FFPE will encourage researchers to strongly consider using them in diagnostic and research settings instead of old-fashioned, crude, and probably less effective in-house methods.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Acta dermatovenerologica Alpina, Panonica, et Adriatica
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    ABSTRACT: The novel human papillomavirus type 199 (HPV199) was initially identified in a nasopharyngeal swab sample obtained from a 25 year-old immunocompetent male. The complete genome of HPV199 is 7,184 bp in length with a GC content of 36.5%. Comparative genomic characterization of HPV199 and its closest relatives showed the classical genomic organization of Gammapapillomaviruses (Gamma-PVs). HPV199 has seven major open reading frames (ORFs), encoding five early (E1, E2, E4, E6, and E7) and two late (L1 and L2) proteins, while lacking the E5 ORF. The long control region (LCR) of 513 bp is located between the L1 and E6 ORFs. Phylogenetic analysis additionally confirmed that HPV-199 clusters into the Gamma-PV genus, species Gamma-12, additionally containing HPV127, HV132, HPV148, HPV165, and three putative HPV types: KC5, CG2 and CG3. HPV199 is most closely related to HPV127 (nucleotide identity 77%). The complete viral genome sequence of additional HPV199 isolate was determined from anal canal swab sample. Two HPV199 complete viral sequences exhibit 99.4% nucleotide identity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first member of Gamma-PV with complete nucleotide sequences determined from two independent clinical samples. To evaluate the tissue tropism of the novel HPV type, 916 clinical samples were tested using HPV199 type-specific real-time PCR: HPV199 was detected in 2/76 tissue samples of histologically confirmed common warts, 2/108 samples of eyebrow hair follicles, 2/137 anal canal swabs obtained from individuals with clinically evident anal pathology, 4/184 nasopharyngeal swabs and 3/411 cervical swabs obtained from women with normal cervical cytology. Although HPV199 was found in 1.4% of cutaneous and mucosal samples only, it exhibits dual tissue tropism. According to the results of our study and literature data, dual tropism of all Gamma-12 members is highly possible.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Cancer Cytopathology

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Clinical Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Human papillomavirus (HPV)-related screening technologies and HPV vaccination offer enormous potential for cancer prevention, notably prevention of cervical cancer. The effectiveness of these approaches is, however, suboptimal owing to limited implementation of screening programmes and restricted indications for HPV vaccination. Trials of HPV vaccination in women aged up to 55 years have shown almost 90% protection from cervical precancer caused by HPV16/18 among HPV16/18-DNA-negative women. We propose extending routine vaccination programmes to women of up to 30 years of age (and to the 45-50-year age groups in some settings), paired with at least one HPV-screening test at age 30 years or older. Expanding the indications for HPV vaccination and much greater use of HPV testing in screening programmes has the potential to accelerate the decline in cervical cancer incidence. Such a combined protocol would represent an attractive approach for many health-care systems, in particular, countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and some more-developed parts of Africa. The role of vaccination in women aged >30 years and the optimal number of HPV-screening tests required in vaccinated women remain important research issues. Cost-effectiveness models will help determine the optimal combination of HPV vaccination and screening in public health programmes, and to estimate the effects of such approaches in different populations.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to define the natural genotypic variation of the HIV-1 integrase gene across Europe for epidemiological surveillance of integrase strand-transfer inhibitor (InSTI) resistance. This was a multicentre, cross-sectional study within the European SPREAD HIV resistance surveillance programme. A representative set of 300 samples was selected from 1950 naive HIV-positive subjects newly diagnosed in 2006-07. The prevalence of InSTI resistance was evaluated using quality-controlled baseline population sequencing of integrase. Signature raltegravir, elvitegravir and dolutegravir resistance mutations were defined according to the IAS-USA 2014 list. In addition, all integrase substitutions relative to HXB2 were identified, including those with a Stanford HIVdb score ≥10 to at least one InSTI. To rule out circulation of minority InSTI-resistant HIV, 65 samples were selected for 454 integrase sequencing. For the population sequencing analysis, 278 samples were retrieved and successfully analysed. No signature resistance mutations to any of the InSTIs were detected. Eleven (4%) subjects had mutations at resistance-associated positions with an HIVdb score ≥10. Of the 56 samples successfully analysed with 454 sequencing, no InSTI signature mutations were detected, whereas integrase substitutions with an HIVdb score ≥10 were found in 8 (14.3%) individuals. No signature InSTI-resistant variants were circulating in Europe before the introduction of InSTIs. However, polymorphisms contributing to InSTI resistance were not rare. As InSTI use becomes more widespread, continuous surveillance of primary InSTI resistance is warranted. These data will be key to modelling the kinetics of InSTI resistance transmission in Europe in the coming years. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
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    ABSTRACT: Background: European guidelines recommend treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection (CHB) with the nucleos(t)ide analogs (NAs) entecavir or tenofovir. However, many European CHB patients have been exposed to other NAs, which are associated with therapy failure and resistance. The CAPRE study was performed to gain insight in prevalence and characteristics of NA resistance in Europe. Methods: A survey was performed on genotypic resistance testing results acquired during routine monitoring of CHB patients with detectable serum hepatitis B virus DNA in European tertiary referral centers. Results: Data from 1568 patients were included. The majority (73.8%) were exposed to lamivudine monotherapy. Drug-resistant strains were detected in 52.7%. The most frequently encountered primary mutation was M204V/I (48.7%), followed by A181T/V (3.8%) and N236T (2.6%). In patients exposed to entecavir (n = 102), full resistance was present in 35.3%. Independent risk factors for resistance were age, viral load, and lamivudine exposure (P < .001). Conclusions: These findings support resistance testing in cases of apparent NA therapy failure. This survey highlights the impact of exposure to lamivudine and adefovir on development of drug resistance and cross-resistance. Continued use of these NAs needs to be reconsidered at a pan-European level.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · The Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • Susanna Esposito · Ron Dagan · Mario Poljak

    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics

Publication Stats

4k Citations
769.38 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996-2015
    • University of Ljubljana
      • • Institute of Microbiology and Immunology
      • • Institute of Pathology
      • • Faculty of Medicine
      Lubliano, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 1997-2013
    • Slovenia Medical
      Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia
  • 2002-2011
    • Ljubljana University Medical Centre
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervicofacial Surgery
      Lubliano, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2009
    • Zagreb University Hospital for Infectious Diseases
      Zagrabia, Grad Zagreb, Croatia
  • 1993
    • Ruđer Bošković Institute
      • Division of Molecular Medicine
      Zagrabia, Grad Zagreb, Croatia