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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Meta-analysis of the impact of human papillomavirus (HPV) on cancer risk and overall survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC)

Farshid Dayyani12*, Carol J Etzel3, Mei Liu3, Chung-Han Ho3, Scott M Lippman1 and Anne S Tsao1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 77030, USA

2 Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 77030, USA

3 Department of Epidemiology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 77030, USA

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Head & Neck Oncology 2010, 2:15  doi:10.1186/1758-3284-2-15

Published: 29 June 2010

Abstract

Background

HPV is important in a subset of HNSCC. Our meta-analysis determined the clinical characteristics of HPV-related HNSCC.

Method

Pubmed search terms "HPV" and "HNSCC" were used to identify 34 studies since 1980. We obtained pooled adjusted odds ratio (OR) or hazard ratio (HR) using random or fixed-effects model and compared OS depicted in forest plot.

Results

A total of 5681 patients were included. The prevalence of HPV+ tumors was 22%, with 86.7% of HPV16+ genotype. The OR for HNSCC in HPV16+ patients was 4.44 (95% CI = 2.87-6.02). HPV status was associated with p16 expression (adj OR = 3.00; 0.90-9.70), and HPV+ tumors were less likely to harbor p53 mutations (adj OR = 0.21; 0.04-0.38). The HR for death in HPV+ patients was 0.42 (0.27-0.57). HPV+ HNSCC also had a better response to therapy.

Conclusion

HPV+ HNSCC are established as a separate biologic entity. Prospective trials are needed to establish the optimal therapy for HPV+ HNSCC.