Human papillomavirus is strongly associated with squamous esophageal cancer.
The potential role of human papillomavirus in Barrett's esophagus has been examined but remains unclear.
Dr El-Serag and colleagues from Texas, USA determined the prevalence of human papillomavirus in esophageal and gastric tissues obtained from patients with and without Barrett's esophagus.
The researchers designed a cross-sectional study with prospective enrollment of eligible patients scheduled for esophagogastroduodenoscopy.
All participants had biopsies of endoscopic Barrett's esophagus, squamous-lined esophagus, and stomach.
Immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue was conducted using monoclonal antibodies.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for human papillomavirus was performed on DNA extracted from esophageal biopsies snapped frozen within 30 minutes after endoscopic capture.
The Roche human papillomavirus Linear Array Assay with PGMY primers that has high sensitivity for detecting 37 types of human papillomavirus was used.
The team included a total of 127 subjects, of which 39 with definitive Barrett's esophagus had immunohistochemistry done on samples from non-dysplastic Barrett's esophagus, squamous esophagus, gastric cardia, and gastric body.
The researchers reported that 88 control patients without Barrett's esophagus had immunohistochemistry done on squamous esophageal samples, gastric cardia, and gastric body.
The team did not detect human papillomavirus in any of the samples in either group.
For confirmation, human papillomavirus DNA PCR was performed on randomly selected samples from 66 patients, no sample had human papillomavirus DNA detected via PCR in the presence of adequate quality control.
Dr El-Serag's team concluded, "Human papillomavirus infection does not play a role in the formation of non-dysplastic Barrett's esophagus in men in the United States."