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Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) may be correlated with HPV infection, and the mechanism underlying the ESCC formation induced by HPV16 infection remains elusive. Here, we overexpressed HPV16 E6 and E7 and coordinated the overexpression of these two genes in EPC2 and ESCC cells. We found that E7 and coordinated expression of E6 and E7 promoted the proliferation of EPC2 cells, and upregulation of shh was responsible for cell proliferation since the use of vismodegib led to the failure of organoid formation. Meanwhile, overexpression of E6 and E7 in ESCC cells promoted cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro. Importantly, E6 and E7 coordinately increased the capability of tumor growth in nude mice, while vismodegib slowed the growth of tumors in NCG mice. Moreover, a series of genes and proteins changed in cell lines after overexpression of the E6 and E7 genes, the potential biological processes and pathways were systematically analyzed using a bioinformatics assay. Together, these findings suggest that the activation of the hedgehog pathway induced by HPV16 infection may initially transform basal cells in the esophagus and promote following malignant processes in ESCC cells. The application of hedgehog inhibitors may represent a therapeutic avenue for ESCC treatment. © 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Hongzhou Zhao, Yuxuan Wei, Jiaying Zhang, Kun Zhang, Liming Tian, Yongpan Liu, Shihui Zhang, Yijian Zhou, Zhuo Wang, Songlin Shi, Zhichao Fu, Jianqian Fu, Jing Zhao, Xinxin Li, Lijia Zhang, Liran Zhao, Kuancan Liu. HPV16 infection promotes the malignant transformation of the esophagus and progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Journal of medical virology. 2023 Oct;95(10):e29132

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PMID: 37792307

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