Survival Rates for Patients With Barrett High-grade Dysplasia and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma With or Without Human Papillomavirus Infection


IMPORTANCE High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) has been associated with Barrett dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Nevertheless, the prognostic significance of esophageal tumor HPV status is unknown.


This case-control study compares disease-free and overall survival among patients with Barrett high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma with vs without underlying human papillomavirus (HPV) infection demonstrated on biopsy.


To determine the association between HPV infection and related biomarkers in highgrade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma and survival.


Retrospective case-control study. The hypothesiswas that HPV-associated esophageal tumors would show a favorable prognosis (as in viral-positive head and neck cancers). Pretreatment biopsies were used for HPV DNA determination via polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization for E6 and E7 messenger RNA (mRNA), and immunohistochemistry for the proteins p16INK4A and p53. Sequencing of TP53 was also undertaken. The study took place at secondary and tertiary referral centers, with 151 patients assessed for eligibility and 9 excluded. The study period was from December 1, 2002, to November 28, 2017.


Disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).
RESULTS Among 142 patients with high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma (126 [88.7%] male; mean [SD] age, 66.0 [12.1] years; 142 [100%] white), 37 were HPV positive and 105 were HPV negative. Patients who were HPV positive mostly had high p16INK4A expression, low p53 expression, and wild-type TP53. There were more Tis, T1, and T2 tumors in HPV-positive patients compared with HPV-negative patients (75.7%vs 54.3%; difference, 21.4%; 95%CI, 4.6%-38.2%;
P = .02). Mean DFS was superior in the HPV-positive group (40.3 vs 24.1 months; difference, 16.2 months; 95%CI, 5.7-26.8; P = .003) as was OS (43.7 vs 29.8 months; difference, 13.9 months; 95% CI, 3.6-24.3; P = .009). Recurrence or progression was reduced in the HPV-positive cohort (24.3%vs 58.1%; difference, −33.8%; 95%CI, −50.5%to −17.0%; P < .001) as was distant metastasis (8.1%vs 27.6%; difference, −19.5%; 95%CI, −31.8%to −7.2%; P = .02) and death from esophageal adenocarcinoma (13.5%vs 36.2%; difference, −22.7%; 95%CI, −37.0% to −8.3%; P = .01). Positive results for HPV and transcriptionally active virus were both associated with a superior DFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.33; 95%CI, 0.16-0.67; P = .002 and HR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.22-0.88; P = .02, respectively [log-rank test]). Positivity for E6 and E7 mRNA, high p16INK4A expression, and low p53 expression were not associated with improved DFS. On multivariate analysis, superior DFS was demonstrated for HPV (HR, 0.39; 95%CI, 0.18-0.85; P = .02), biologically active virus (HR, 0.36; 95%CI, 0.15-0.86; P = .02), E6 and E7 mRNA (HR, 0.36; 95%CI, 0.14-0.96; P = .04), and high p16 expression (HR, 0.49; 95%CI, 0.27-0.89; P = .02).



Barrett high-grade dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients who are positive for HPV are distinct biological entities with a favorable prognosis compared with viral-negative esophageal tumors. Confirmation of these findings in larger cohorts with more advanced disease could present an opportunity for treatment deescalation in the hope of reducing toxic effects without deleteriously affecting survival.

Key Points


What is the prognostic significance of esophageal tumor humanpapillomavirus (HPV) status?


In this case-control study involving 142 patients with Barrett highgrade dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma, HPV positivity was associated with a significantly improved disease-free survival compared with viral negativity. Recurrence and progression were reduced in the HPV-positive cohort as were distant metastasis and death from esophageal adenocarcinoma.


Barrett high-grade dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients who are HPV positive have a favorable prognosis compared with viral-negative esophageal tumors and may benefit from treatment de-escalation.


Shanmugarajah Rajendra, MSc,MD, FRACP;Wei Xuan, PhD; Neil Merrett, FRACS; Preeti Sharma, BSc; Prateek Sharma, MD; Darren Pavey, FRACP; Tao Yang, PhD, FRCPA;Leonardo D. Santos, FRCPA; Omar Sharaiha, FRACP; Girish Pande, PhD, FRACS; Peter Cosman, PhD, FRACS; XiaojuanWu, MBBS, MSc; BinWang, MBBS, MMed, PhD


Full article details can be found here:  JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(4):e181054. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.1054