The American journal of pathology

Profiling of expression of human papillomavirus-related cancer miRNAs in penile squamous cell carcinomas.

PMID 25455689


Penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) is a rare tumor associated with high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection in 30% to 60% of cases. Altered expression of miRNAs has been reported in HPV-related cervical and head and neck cancers, but such data have not been available for PSCC. We analyzed a series of 59 PSCCs and 8 condylomata for presence of HPV infection, for p16(INK4a), Ki-67, and p53 immunohistochemical expression, and for expression of a panel of cellular miRNAs (let-7c, miR-23b, miR-34a, miR-145, miR-146a, miR-196a, and miR-218) involved in HPV-related cancer. HR-HPV DNA (HPV16 in most cases) was detected in 17/59 (29%) PSCCs; all penile condylomata (8/8) were positive for low-risk HPV6 or HPV11. HR-HPV(+) PSCCs overexpressed p16(INK4a) in 88% cases and p53 in 35% of cases, whereas HR-HPV(-) PSCCs were positive for p16(INK4a) and p53 immunostaining in 9% and 44% of cases, respectively. Among the miRNAs investigated, expression of miR-218 was lower in PSCCs with HR-HPV infection and in p53(-) cancers. Hypermethylation of the promoter of the SLIT2 gene, which contains miR-218-1 in its intronic region, was frequently observed in PSCCs, mainly in those with low miR-218 expression. Epigenetic silencing of miR-218 is a common feature in HR-HPV(+) PSCCs and in HR-HPV(-) PSCCs without immunohistochemical detection of p53.