PURPOSE - To investigate phosphoinositide kinase-3 (PI3K) activation in relation to human papillomavirus (HPV) status in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
METHODS AND MATERIALS - Gene expression microarray data were analyzed to determine differentially expressed genes between HPV(+) and HPV(-) HNSCC. PIK3CA gene expression was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in seven HPV(+) and seven HPV(-) primary HNSCCs. PIK3CA mutation status in three HPV(+) and nine HPV(-) cell lines was determined by polymerase chain reaction amplification of hot spot exons (1, 9, 20) followed by direct sequencing.
RESULTS - PIK3CA was overexpressed in HPV(+)-associated HNSCC compared with the expression in HPV(-) HNSCC. Activation of PIK3CA by mutation was found in 1 of the 12 tested HNSCC cell lines.
CONCLUSION - Activation of PI3K by mutation of PIK3CA is rare in HNSCC cell lines and was not found in three HPV(+) cell lines. One mechanism by which HPV-associated HNSCC might activate PI3K is increased expression of PIK3CA.