The incidence of p53 antigen and human papillomavirus (HPV) expression in archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections from verrucous carcinoma of the larynx was determined using immunohistochemistry.
The p53 oncoprotein was detected in four of 10 tissue samples (40 per cent). The same number of tumours had HPV antigen, and three cases had both p53 oncoprotein and HPV antigen. All positive cases were from heavy smokers and drinkers.
After surgical treatment, no tumour recurrence was present in our series. Four patients developed a second head and neck neoplasm and death occurred in three. Three of the patients with second tumour had p53 positive immunoreactivity and two had p13 and HPV expression.
Verrucous carcinoma of the larynx presented with overexpression of p53 antigen in a similar percentage to other head and neck cancers. The p53 immunohistochemical determination is well correlated with HPV detection and could have prognostic value in these tumours, but no statistical evidence was present.