Background: Several studies have suggested a possible role of human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein–Barr virus in the pathogenesis of oral premalignant lesions. This study aimed to investigate the correlation between squamous dysplasia of the tongue and expression of p16 and Ki67 immunohistochemically as well as HPV genotypes with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Methods: Twenty-three tongue biopsies were stained immunohistochemically for p16, Epstein–Barr virus and Ki67 and real-time PCR and chromogenic in-situ hybridization for HPV.
Results: Dysplasia was diagnosed in 16 of 23 cases without invasive carcinoma and suspicious for dysplasia (n=17) and HPV infection (n=6). These were subjected to chromogenic in-situ hybridization for HPV DNA (HPV-III family 16). There was no immunoreactivity for Epstein–Barr virus. p16 was positive in 4/16 (25%) of dysplastic lesions. One lesion was positive for HPV by chromogenic in-situ hybridization, and one case was positive by real-time PCR for HPV.
Conclusion: This evidence suggested that HPV infection but not Epstein–Barr virus infection plays a role in pathogenesis of squamous dysplasia localized tongue.