HealthDay News — Human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 detection is tied to incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC); and other HPVs, including γ11- and γ12-HPV species and β1-HPV-5 type, are also associated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), according to a study published online Jan. 21 in JAMA Oncology.

Ilir Agalliu, MD, ScD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and colleagues conducted a nested case-control study among 96 650 participants who were cancer free at baseline with available mouthwash samples in two prospective cohort studies. During an average of 3.9 years follow-up in both cohorts, 132 incident cases of HNSCC were identified; three controls were selected per case (396 controls).

The researchers found that oral HPV-16 detection correlated with incident HNSCC (odds ratio [OR], 7.1), with a positive correlation for oropharyngeal SCC (OR, 22.4) but not for oral cavity or laryngeal SCC. Detection of β1-HPV-5, β2-HPV-38 types and γ11 and γ12 species correlated with increased odds of HNSCC (ORs ranged from 2.64 to 5.45; P < 0.01 for all comparisons). β1-HPV-5 type correlated with oropharyngeal, oral cavity, and laryngeal SCCs (ORs, 7.42, 5.34, and 2.71, respectively), while γ11- and γ12-HPV species correlated with both oral cavity (ORs, 7.47 and 6.71, respectively) and laryngeal SCCs (ORs, 7.49 and 5.31, respectively).

“This study demonstrates that HPV-16 detection precedes the incidence of oropharyngeal SCC,” the authors write. “Associations of other HPVs, including γ11- and γ12-HPV species and β1-HPV-5 type suggest a broader role for HPVs in HNSCC etiology.”

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