p16 Expression as a Surrogate Marker for HPV Infection in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma can Predict Response to Neo-Adjuvant Chemotherapy

  • Kumar, Rajeev (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Ghosh, Sankar Kumar (Department of Biotechnology, Assam University) ;
  • Verma, Akalesh Kumar (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Talukdar, Anuradha (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Deka, Monoj Kumar (Silchar Medical College & Hospital) ;
  • Wagh, Mira (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Bahar, H.M. Iqbal (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Tapkire, Ritesh (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Chakraborty, Kali Pankaj (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University) ;
  • Kannan, R. Ravi (Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Assam University)
  • Published : 2015.11.04


Background: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a common cancer in the north east of India. The present study concerned the prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) in the ESCC in north eastern India and its impact on response to chemotherapy. Materials and Methods: p16 expression, a surrogate marker for HPV infection was assessed in 101 pre-treatment biopsies of locally advanced ESCC, reported from a comprehensive cancer centre in north east India, using immunohistochemistry. All patients received neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Response was assessed clinically and histopathologically with attention to p16 expression. Results: p16 was expressed in 22% of ESCC (22 out of 101) and was more prevalent in patients who were more than 45 years of age (P=0.048). p16 positive tumors appeared more commonly in the upper 2/3 of the thoracic esophagus (18 in 22). Nine of the 22 (41%) p16 positive tumors achieved pathologic complete response following neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (P=0.008). There was a trend towards reduced mortality in this group (P=0.048). Some 9 of the 20 (45%) patients who achieved pathologic complete response were p16 positive. Conclusions: Expression of p16 in ESCC correlates with higher rate of pathologic complete remission in patients undergoing neo adjuvant chemotherapy and could be a predictive marker for response assessment.


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