Patients with the rare genetic disease, Fanconi anemia (FA), are highly susceptible to squamous cell carcinomas arising at multiple anatomic sites including the head and neck region. Human papillomaviruses (HPVs), particularly HPV16, are associated with ∼20% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) in the general population. Some but not other investigators have reported that HNSCCs in FA patients are much more frequently positive for HPV. In addition, studies have demonstrated an interaction between the HPV16 E7 oncoprotein and the FA pathway, a DNA damage response pathway deficient in FA patients. On the basis of these studies, it was hypothesized that the FA pathway contributes to repair of DNA damage induced by HPV16 E7, providing one explanation for why FA patients are predisposed to HPV-associated HNSCCs. To determine the importance of the FA pathway in modulating the oncogenic abilities of E7, we crossed K14E7 transgenic (K14E7) and fancD2 knockout mice (FancD2-/-) to establish K14E7/FancD2-/- and K14E7/FancD2+/+ mice and monitored their susceptibility to HNSCC when treated with a chemical carcinogen. K14E7/FancD2-/- mice had a significantly higher incidence of HNSCC compared with K14E7/FancD2+/+ mice. This difference correlated with an increased proliferative index and the increase in expression of biomarkers that are used to assess levels of DNA damage. These animal studies support the hypotheses that FA patients have increased susceptibility to HPV-associated cancer and that the FA DNA damage response pathway normally attenuates the oncogenic potential of HPV16 E7.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research