Hybrid capture 2 is as effective as PCR testing for high-risk human papillomavirus in head and neck cancers

Jody E. Hooper, Jessica F. Hebert, Amy Schilling, Neil D. Gross, Joshua S. Schindler, James P. Lagowski, Molly Kulesz-Martin, Christopher L. Corless, Terry K. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a common cause of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, especially in young male nonsmokers. Accurately diagnosing HPV-associated oral cancers is important, because they have a better prognosis and may be treated differently than smoking-related oral carcinomas. Various methods have been validated to test for high-risk HPV in cervical tissue samples, and they are in routine clinical use to detect dysplasia before it progresses to invasive disease. Similarly, future screening for HPV-mediated oropharyngeal dysplasia may identify patients before it progresses. Our objective was to compare 4 of these methods in a retrospective series of 87 oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas that had archived fresh-frozen and paraffin-embedded tissue for evaluation. Patient age, sex, smoking history, and tumor location were also recorded. DNA prepared from fresh-frozen tissue was tested for HPV genotypes by multiplex polymerase chain reaction analysis, and high-risk HPV screening was carried out using Hybrid Capture 2 and Cervista. Histologic sections were immunostained for p16. HPV-positive outcome was defined as agreement between at least 2 of the 3 genetic tests and used for χ 2 analysis and calculations of diagnostic predictive value. As expected, high-risk HPV-positive oral cancers were most common in the tonsil and base of the tongue (oropharynx) of younger male (55 vs. 65 y) (P=0.0002) nonsmokers (P=0.01). Most positive cases were HPV16 (33/36, 92%). Hybrid Capture 2 and Cervista were as sensitive as polymerase chain reaction and had fewer false positives than p16 immunohistochemical staining.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-272
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015


  • Cervista
  • HPV
  • Hybrid Capture 2
  • PCR
  • oropharyngeal
  • p16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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