Date Published:2016 Apr
High-risk human papilloma virus (HR-HPV) is a well-established causative agent of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In addition, HR-HPV has occasionally been reported to be present in dysplastic and malignant lesions of the conjunctiva and lacrimal sac, although its overall incidence and etiological role in periocular SCC are controversial. Sequential surgical samples of 52 combined cases of invasive SCC (I-SCC) and SCC in situ (SCCIS) from 2 periocular sites (conjunctiva and lacrimal sac) diagnosed over a 14-year period (2000 to 2014) were selected for evaluation, and relevant patient characteristics were documented. p16 immunohistochemistry was performed as a screening test. All p16-positive cases were further evaluated for HR-HPV using DNA in situ hybridization (DNA ISH), and a subset was also analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of 43 ocular surface squamous neoplasias (OSSNs), 30% (n=13; 8 SCCIS and 5 I-SCC cases) were positive for HR-HPV. HPV-positive OSSNs occurred in 8 men and 5 women with a mean age of 60 years (range, 39 to 94 y). HPV type-16 was detected in all conjunctival cases evaluated by PCR. All 5 conjunctival I-SCCs were nonkeratinizing (n=4) or partially keratinizing (n=1) and managed by simple excision. In contrast, HPV-negative conjunctival I-SCCs were predominantly keratinizing (11 keratinizing and 2 nonkeratinizing). Of 9 lacrimal sac I-SCCs (LSSCCs), 66.7% (n=6) were positive for HR-HPV by p16 and DNA ISH; HPV subtypes were HPV-16 (n=5) and HPV-58 (n=1). In addition, 2 p16-positive cases with negative DNA ISH results were HR-HPV positive (HPV-16 and HPV-33) when evaluated by PCR, suggesting that the rate of HR-HPV positivity among the LSSCCs may be as high as 89% (n=8). The combined group of HR-HPV-positive LSSCCs was seen in 4 men and 4 women with a mean age of 60 years (range, 34 to 71 y). Seven of the 8 HPV-positive LSSCCs (87.5%) had a nonkeratinizing or partially keratinizing histomorphology, whereas 1 case (12.5%) was predominantly keratinizing. The presence of HR-HPV in 30% of OSSNs and at least 66.7% of LSSCCs suggests the possibility of an etiologic role for HR-HPV at these sites.