Association of p21/p27 polymorphisms with risk of HPV16-associated oral squamous cell carcinoma

Wen-Ya Lee, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The increasing incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) among young adults has been associated with sexually transmitted infection of human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly HPV16. Given the roles of p21 (WAF1/Cip1/CDKN1A) and p27 (Kip1/CDKNIB) in cell-cycle regulation and of HPV16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins in p53 degradation and pRb inactivation, the effect of HPV16 L1 seropositivity and three putatively functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of p21 (p21 C70T and p21 C98A) and p27 (p27 T109G), individually and in combination, on the risk of OSCC was evaluated in a hospital-based case-control study of 327 cases and 401 cancer-free controls who were frequency-matched on age, gender and smoking status. Individuals with HPV16 L1 seropositivity had an overall 3-fold increased risk of having OSCC than those with HPV16 seronegativity. The increased risk of HPV16-associated OSCC was particularly found among younger people (aged ≤ 50 years), males, never smokers, never drinkers and oropharynx cancer patients. None of three p21 and p27 polymorphisms alone was significantly associated with risk of OSCC. Individuals with variant genotypes for both p21 polymorphisms were more likely to have OSCC than individuals with wild-type genotypes or variant genotypes for either one of the p21 polymorphisms (adjusted OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.9-2.1). There was a borderline significant or significant interaction between the p21 C70T, combined p21 and combined p21/p27 genotypes and HPV16 L1 seropositivity on risk of OSCC. The three studied p21 and p27 polymorphisms, individually or in combination, did not appear to have an effect on HPV16-related clinical outcomes (overall and disease-free survival and tumor recurrence). Despite the fact that the exact biological mechanism remains to be explored, these findings suggest possible involvement of p21variants, particularly the p21 C70T variant genotypes (CT/TT), in the etiology of HPV16-associated OPSCC. Further large and functional studies are required to validate the findings.

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Recommended Citation

Lee, Wen-Ya, "Association of p21/p27 polymorphisms with risk of HPV16-associated oral squamous cell carcinoma" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3521847.