People with HPV-16 in their oral cavity are 22 times more likely to develop a type of head and neck cancer than those without HPV-16, revealed a new study.
The study published in JAMA Oncology
was led by Ilir Agalliu and Robert D. Burk. They identified HPV-16 as a main cause of increased risk of head and neck cancer. Researchers analyzed nearly 97,000 people taking part in two large, national prospective studies. The participants were provided with mouthwash samples and were cancer-free.
‘Oral detection of HPV is associated with increased risk for oropharyngeal cancer.’
A total of 132 cases of head and neck cancer were identified during an average of nearly four years of follow-up. The study also included a comparison group of 396 healthy subjects. Mouthwashes samples for head-and-neck cancer cases and for the controls were analyzed for the presence of several types of oral HPVs.
They found that people with HPV-16 in their mouthwash samples were 22 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than others without any detectable HPV-16 in their samples. They also found for the first time that the presence of other types of oral HPVs--beta- and gamma-HPVs, which are usually detected in the skin--was also associated with the development of head and neck cancers.
Reference: Ilir Agalliu and Robert D. Burk, "Associations of Oral α-, β-, and γ-Human Papillomavirus Types With Risk of Incident Head and Neck Cancer, "JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.5504