HPV infection and immunochemical detection of cell-cycle markers in verrucous carcinoma of the penis

Elzbieta Stankiewicz, Sakunthala C. Kudahetti, David M. Prowse, Elena Ktori, Jack Cuzick, Laurence Ambroisine, Xiaoxi Zhang, Nicholas Watkin, Catherine Corbishley, Daniel M. Berney

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Penile verrucous carcinoma is a rare disease and little is known of its aetiology or pathogenesis. In this study we examined cell-cycle proteins expression and correlation with human papillomavirus infection in a series of 15 pure penile verrucous carcinomas from a single centre. Of 148 penile tumours, 15 (10%) were diagnosed as pure verrucous carcinomas. The expression of the cell-cycle-associated proteins p53, p21, RB, p16INK4A and Ki67 were examined by immunohistochemistry. Human papillomavirus infection was determined by polymerase chain reaction to identify a wide range of virus types. The expression of p16INK4A and Ki67 was significantly lower in verrucous carcinoma than in usual type squamous cell carcinoma, whereas the expression of p53, p21 and RB was not significantly different. p53 showed basal expression in contrast to usual type squamous cell carcinoma. Human papillomavirus infection was present in only 3 out of 13 verrucous carcinomas. Unique low-risk, high-risk and mixed viral infections were observed in each of the three cases. In conclusion, lower levels of p16INK4A and Ki67 expressions differentiate penile verrucous carcinoma from usual type squamous cell carcinoma. The low Ki67 index reflects the slow-growing nature of verrucous tumours. The low level of p16INK4A expression and human papillomavirus detection suggests that penile verrucous carcinoma pathogenesis is unrelated to human papillomavirus infection and the oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes classically altered by virus infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1160-1168
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009


  • Human papillomavirus
  • p16 INK4A
  • p21
  • p53
  • Penile verrucous carcinoma
  • RB


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