Background: In the United States and Europe, about 15-35% of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). The expression of p16 has been demonstrated to be a favorable biomarker for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. However, p16 expression and its prognostic value in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese patients are unknown. We aim to investigate p16 expression and its prognostic value in a large group of Chinese patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Design: A total of 236 patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas (laryngectomy, n=110; biopsy, n=126) obtained from the Surgical Pathology file (2000-2005), Cancer Center of SunYat-sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China were examined by immunohistochemistry for p16 expression. Overall survival was measured from the date of laryngectomy or biopsy to the date of death, and was censored from the date of last follow-up. Median follow-up period was 5 years and 3 months (63 months, range 7-123 months). Results: Clinical characteristics of the 236 patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma showed that age, tumor stage and grade, and vital status (alive or dead) were not associated with p16 expression. Only 43 of 236 (18%) laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas expressed p16. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the 10-year overall survival rate was similar in patients with p16 positive tumors and patients with p16 negative tumors (31% vs. 34%; P=0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34 to 1.37). Conclusion: The expression of p16 was found in only 18% Chinese patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas. Unlike Caucasian patients, this large cohort study provides the first evidence that p16 positivity is not a favorable biomarker for patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas in China.
Pallavi K Galera, Kai Chen, Weijun Ye,Qiuliang Wu and Zhong Jiang
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