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Open Access Research

Low prevalence of Human Papillomavirus in oral cavity carcinomas

Jerry Machado12, Patricia P Reis2, Tong Zhang2, Colleen Simpson3, Wei Xu4, Bayardo Perez-Ordonez5, David P Goldstein3, Dale H Brown3, Ralph W Gilbert3, Patrick J Gullane3, Jonathan C Irish3 and Suzanne Kamel-Reid1267*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 Division of Applied Molecular Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

3 Department of Otolaryngology/Surgical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

4 Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

5 Department of Pathology, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

6 Institute for Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

7 Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Head & Neck Oncology 2010, 2:6  doi:10.1186/1758-3284-2-6

Published: 12 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Increasing evidence shows that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is preferentially associated with some head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs), with variable infection rates reported.

Methods

We assessed HPV involvement in HNSCC using the Roche Linear Array HPV Genotyping Test, which can detect 37 different HPV types. We examined the prevalence of HPV infection in 92 HNSCCs (oropharynx, oral cavity, and other HNSCC sites).

Results

HPV was frequently detected in oropharyngeal cancers (OPCs) (16/22, 73%), but was uncommon in oral cavity cancers (2/53, 4%), and in other HNSCC subsites (1/17, 6%). HPV positive tumors were associated with patients that were 40-60 years old (p = 0.02), and node positive (p = < 0.0001). HPV 16 was the most prevalent type, but other types detected included 6, 18, 33, 35, 45, and 52/58.

Conclusion

Our results show that in contrast to oropharyngeal cancers, oral cancers and other HNSCCs infrequently harbor HPV.