Hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha expression is increased in infected positive HPV16 DNA oral squamous cell carcinoma and positively associated with HPV16 E7 oncoprotein
1 Department of Sciences for Health Promotion, Section of Anatomic Pathology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
2 Department of Biomedical Internal and Specialized Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
3 Department of Experimental Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
4 Department of Surgical and Oncologic Disciplines, Section of Oral Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
5 Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of Anatomic Pathology and Cytopathology, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Infectious Agents and Cancer 2011, 6:18 doi:10.1186/1750-9378-6-18Published: 27 October 2011
There is increasing evidence for the role of High Risk (HR) Human PapillomaVirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). The E6 and E7 oncogenes from HR HPVs are responsible for the deregulation of p53 and pRB proteins involved in cell cycle and apoptotic pathways. In cell lines experiments, the HPV E7 protein seems to be able to enhance Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) activity, normally involved in the response to hypoxia and able to enhance angiogenesis.
We studied tumor specimens from 62 OSCC; a higher prevalence of tumors in TNM stage II and also in pT2 class between OSCC infected positive HPV16 DNA than non-infected ones was observed. HIF-1α positivity was detected throughout the analysed fields, not associated with areas of necrosis and also observed in cells immediately adjacent to blood vessels. A significant increase in mean values of the HIF-1α labeling indexes was observed for pT1-T2, as well for stage I-II, in the infected positive HPV16 DNA tumors than non-infected ones. HIF-1α and HPV16 E7 labeling indexes showed a significantly positive correlation which suggested a positive association between HPV16 E7 and HIF-1α expression.
In our specimens HIF-1α immunoreactivity hints for an O2-independent regulatory mechanism in infected positive HPV16 DNA tumors, especially for pT1-T2 and stage I-II tumors, suggesting a very early involvement in the development of HPV-induced OSCC. HIF-1α and HPV16 E7 labeling indexes suggest also a positive association between the two proteins in infected positive HPV16 DNA OSCC.