Emerging Oncogenic Viruses In HNCs From Romanian Patients

Ramona URSU, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iași, Romania
GHEIT T. 2 , COSTAN V. 3 , STAMATIN O. 3 , CHECHERITA L. 3 , GHETU N. 4 , COBZEANU B. 5 , IANCU L. 6 , TOMMASINO M. 7

1 Department of Microbiology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iași
2 Infections and Cancer Biology Group International Agency for Research on Cancer - World Health Organization
3 Department of Oro Maxilo Facial Surgery, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iaș i
4 Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iaș i
5 Department of Oto - Rhino - Laringology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iaș i
6 Department of Microbiology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” – Iaș i
7 Head, Section of Infections and Infections and Cancer Biology Group International Agency for Research on Cancer - World Heal

Background: Head and neck cancer (HNC), with an estimated global burden of approximately 700 000 incident cases, is the sixth most common malignancy reported worldwide and has a high case fatality rate of 380 000 deaths per year. Alcohol consumption, smoking, poor oral hygiene, and genetic features are key risk factors for HNC development. Oncogenic viruses are recognized to be related with HNC: MCPyV, EBV and HPV. There are no data from Romania.
Purpose: to evaluate the prevalence of oncogenic viruses in different HNCs from Romanian patients.
Methods: we tested 26 fresh tumors (6/26 women) from 3 surgical departments from Iași, Romania with HNCs (cancers of hypopharynx, oropharynx, oral cavity, larynx and skin from head/neck region).
The samples were tested at IARC by LUMINEX multiplex genotyping for the presence of specific DNA from 61 viral agents by using type-specific multiplex genotyping (TS-MPG) assays, which combine multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and bead-based Luminex technology (Luminex Corp., Austin, TX, USA). Multiplex type-specific PCR used specific primers for the detection of 19 probable/high-risk alpha-HPV types, 2 low-risk alpha-HPV types, 25 genus-beta HPV types, 10 polyomaviruses and  5 herpesviruses. The assay also includes assessment of the β-globin gene, to evaluate the presence and quality of extracted DNA. 
Results: 23/26 patients were positive for one or more viruses. In total, we detected 8(30.7%) MCV, 1(3.8%) HPyV6, 16(61.53%) EBV1, 1(3.8%) EBV2, 6 (23.07%) CMV, 8 (30.7%) HHV6, 12 (46.15%) HHV7 and 2 (7.69%) HHV8.  
Conclusions: our results suggest an association between the presence of viral DNA and HNCs. Additional research are required for clarifying the natural history of these viruses in HNC, as virus detection would have a decisive impact on diagnostic/decisional algorithms.
Acknowledgement: The work reported in this paper was undertaken while hosted as Visiting Scientist by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.