Low human papillomavirus prevalence in head and neck cancer: results from two large case-control studies in high-incidence regions.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
International Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 6.98). 01/2011; 40(2):489-502. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyq249
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent studies support an important role for human papillomavirus (HPV) in a subgroup of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). We have evaluated the HPV deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) prevalence as well as the association between serological response to HPV infection and HNSCC in two distinct populations from Central Europe (CE) and Latin America (LA).
Cases (n = 2214) and controls (n = 3319) were recruited from 1998 to 2003, using a similar protocol including questionnaire and blood sample collection. Tumour DNA from 196 fresh tissue biopsies was analysed for multiple HPV types followed by an HPV type-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol towards the E7 gene from HPV 16. Using multiplex serology, serum samples were analysed for antibodies to 17 HPV types. Statistical analysis included the estimation of adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and the respective 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
HPV16 E7 DNA prevalence among cases was 3.1% (6/196), including 4.4% in the oropharynx (3/68), 3.8% in the hypopharynx/larynx (3/78) and 0% among 50 cases of oral cavity carcinomas. Positivity for both HPV16 E6 and E7 antibodies was associated with a very high risk of oropharyngeal cancer (OR = 179, 95% CI 35.8-899) and hypopharyngeal/laryngeal cancer (OR = 14.9, 95% CI 2.92-76.1).
A very low prevalence of HPV DNA and serum antibodies was observed among cases in both CE and LA. The proportion of head and neck cancer caused by HPV may vary substantially between different geographical regions and studies that are designed to evaluate the impact of HPV vaccination on HNSCC need to consider this heterogeneity.

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