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Detection of HPV DNA in esophageal cancer specimens from different regions and ethnic groups: a descriptive study

Xueqian Wang1, Xiuyun Tian1, Fangfang Liu1, Yiqiang Zhao1, Min Sun1, Dafang Chen3, Changdong Lu4, Zhong Wang4, Xiaotian Shi4, Qingying Zhang5, Donghong Zhang5, Zhongying Shen5, Feng Li6, Curtis C Harris7, Hong Cai1* and Yang Ke12*

Author Affiliations

1 Key laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital & Institute, 52 Fucheng Rd, Beijing 100142, China

2 Department of Cell Biology, Health Science Center, Peking University, 38 Xueyuan Rd, Beijing 100191, China

3 School of Public Health, Health Science Center, Peking University, 38 Xueyuan Rd, Beijing 100191, China

4 Anyang Cancer Hospital, Anyang, Henan 455000, China

5 Medical School, Shantou University, 22 Xinling Rd, Shantou, Guangdong 515031, China

6 Shihezi Medical School, North Second Rd, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832002, China

7 Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, NCI, NIH, 37 Convent Dr. Bethesda, MD, 20892-4255, USA

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-19

Published: 16 January 2010



HPV has been found repeatedly in esophageal carcinoma tissues. However, reported detection rates of HPV DNA in these tumors have varied markedly. Differences in detection methods, sample types, and geographic regions of sample origin have been suggested as potential causes of this discrepancy.


HPV L1 DNA and HPV genotypes were evaluated in 435 esophageal carcinoma specimens collected from four geographic regions with different ethnicities including Anyang in north China, Shantou in south China, Xinjiang in west China, and the United States. The HPV L1 fragment was detected using SPF1/GP6+ primers. HPV genotyping was performed using genotype specific PCR.


Two hundred and forty four of 435 samples (56.1%) tested positive for HPV L1. Significant differences in detection rate were observed neither among the three areas of China nor between China and the US. HPV6, 16, 18, 26, 45, 56, 57, and 58 were identified in L1 positive samples. HPV16 and 57 were the most common types in all regions, followed by HPV26 and HPV18.


HPV infection is common in esophageal carcinoma independent of region and ethnic group of origin. Findings in this study raise the possibility that HPV is involved in esophageal carcinogenesis. Further investigation with a larger sample size over broader geographic areas may be warranted.