BACKGROUND: The incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is on the increase in developing countries. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Formalin fixed paraffin embedded blocks of OSCCs from a black South African population sample of peri-urban and rural origin were selected as follows: Group 1 - 57 OSCCs with a mean age of 59 years; Group 2 - 43 OSCCs all cases younger than 40 years; Group 3 - 46 OSCCs with blocks containing only tumour tissue without any normal epithelium and Group 4, a control group of 38 non-neoplastic epithelial lesions. Type specific primers were used in a standard PCR to amplify a segment of the E6 region of HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18. RESULTS: HPV 11 and 16 DNA were found in one sample each from groups 1 and 2 respectively. CONCLUSION: HPV is not an etiologic factor in the development of OSCC in the population studied.
This article was co-written by Prof Janse van Rensburg and Prof Van Heerden before they joined the University of Pretoria.