Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) can be either Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive or HPV-negative. Profiles of druggable Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) are different in both groups, as shown in a paper by Cortelazzi, B. et al. The authors chose a cohort of 17 HPV-positive and 59 HVP-negative Formalin-Fixed OSCCs, in order to study E5 expression and RTK alterations. RTK activation was explored in further 12 Frozen OSCCs.
HPV-positive and HPV-negative OSCCs showed different RTK profiles, including differences in E5 and HER2 levels, as well as in HER3 activation and heterodimerisation (HER3/EGFR, also seen for HER2/EGFR). PI3KCA mutations/expression/increased gene copy number and PTEN mutations were found in both groups, whereas PTEN gene loss was only observed in the HPV-positive cases.