Application of the Hybrid Capture 2 assay to squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck
Background-A growing proportion of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCCs) is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). In light of the unique natural history and prognosis of HPV-related HNSCCs, routine HPV testing is being incorporated into diagnostic protocols. Accordingly, there is an escalating demand for an optimal detection strategy that is sensitive and specific, transferrable to the diagnostic laboratory, standardized across laboratories, cost effective, and amenable to broad
... lication across specimen types including cytologic preparations. Methods-Cytologic preparations (fine needle aspirates and brushes) were obtained from surgically resected HNSCCs and evaluated for the presence of high risk HPV using the hybrid capture 2 assay. HPV analysis was also performed on the corresponding tissue sections using HPV in-situ hybridization and p16 immunohistochemistry. In cases where the immunohistochemical and in-situ hybridization results were discordant, HPV status was determined by real time PCR detection of E7 expression. HPV status in the tissues and corresponding cytologic samples were compared. Results-Based on benchmark HPV testing of the tissue sections, 14 HNSCCs were classified as HPV positive and 10 as HPV negative. All corresponding cytologic preparations were correctly classified using the hybrid capture 2 assay. Conclusions-The hybrid capture 2 strategy, already widely used for the detection of high risk HPV in cervical brushes, is readily transferrable to HNSCCs. Consistent accuracy in cytologic preparation suggests its potential application in FNAs from patients who present with lymph node metastases, and may eliminate the need to obtain tissue solely for the purpose of HPV testing.