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BACKGROUND: Squamous cell carcinoma originating from the oral cavity, lip, larynx and pharynx are grouped under head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). OBJECTIVE: To report on human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes involved in HNSCC. STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective review of archival HNSCC specimens and patient demographic and clinical data accessioned between January, 2007 and December, 2009 in the Department of Pathology, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana. RESULTS: Cases from 58 males and 20 females included 29 from the oral cavity, 33 from the larynx, 11 from the pharynx and 5 from the parotid gland. HPV DNA was found in 15 (19.23%) of the tumors with 12 being HPV-16, 2 HPV-18 and 1 dual infection with HPV-16 and HPV-18, giving HPV-16 prevalence of 86.7%. Higher prevalence of HPV DNA was found in males than females. There was a trend towards subjects younger than 58 years being more likely to have HPV-positive tumors.The 15 HPV-positive cases were distributed in location as 8 of 33 (24.2%) from the larynx, 4 of 29 (13.8%) from the oral cavity, and 2 of 11 (18.2%) from the pharynx and 1 of 5 (20%) from the parotid gland. CONCLUSION: Oncogenic HPV infection was found in 19.23% of HNSCCs, with genotype 16 predominating. HPV-related HNSCC tended to occur at younger age compared to non-HPV-related HNSCC. The commonest site for HPV-associated HNSSC in Ghana is the larynx, rather than the oropharynx as reported in other studies. Host factors may be responsible for the site difference and more work is required to further elucidate this.

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  • Parasitology Department [335]
    The Department of Parasitology conducts research into parasitic diseases of public health importance with the overall goal of reducing their transmission and the heavy disease burden that they impose on affected populations. The Department maintains focus on parasitic diseases in general. These include major diseases such as malaria, and others listed under the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) control initiative such as, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis.

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