Open Access Open Badges Research article

Testing of human papillomavirus in lung cancer and non-tumor lung tissue

Antonella Galvan1, Sara Noci1, Francesca Taverna2, Claudia Lombardo2, Silvia Franceschi4, Ugo Pastorino3 and Tommaso A Dragani1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Predictive and Preventive Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Via Amadeo 42, Milan 20133, Italy

2 Department of Diagnostic Pathology and Laboratories, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy

3 Department of Surgery, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy

4 International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2012, 12:512  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-512

Published: 12 November 2012



Risk factors for lung cancer, such as cigarette smoking, environmental pollution, asbestos, and genetic determinants, are well-known, whereas involvement of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is still unclear.


We examined a series of 100 lung cancer patients from Italy and the UK for the presence of HPV DNA in both lung tumor specimens and adjacent non-tumoral specimens from the same patients. Thirty-five of the most clinically relevant HPV types were assayed using PCR amplification of the highly conserved L1 region of the viral genome followed by hybridization with specific probes.


No HPV was detected in tumor specimens nor in normal lung tissue of any patient.


These data indicate that, in this Western series, HPV is not associated with the risk of lung cancer. Our findings will help refine estimates of lung cancer risk in patients affected by a common viral infection involved in other types of human cancer.

Biomarker; Cancer; HPV; Lung