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Keywords:

  • head and neck neoplasms;
  • human papillomavirus;
  • sexual behavior;
  • oropharynx;
  • HPV16

Abstract

Background.

An emerging epidemic of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancer has been proposed. The purpose of this study was for us to compare the sexual behaviors of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx (SCCOP) and patients with squamous cell carcinoma of non-oropharyngeal (SCCNOP) head and neck sites to expand our understanding of sexual behavior as a risk factor for HPV-associated head and neck cancer.

Methods.

The sexual history of 165 patients with SCCOP and 87 patients with SCCNOP was determined in a hospital-based case-to-case comparison study.

Results.

Patients with SCCOP were significantly more likely than patients with SCCNOP to have had >9 lifetime sex partners (odds ratio [OR], 39.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8.2–187.3), to have engaged in oral-genital sex (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.1–11.1), and to have had >4 oral-genital sex partners (OR, 8.6; 95% CI, 2.2–33.4).

Conclusion.

The findings of this study suggest that some risk factors are site-specific and provide further evidence that certain sexual behaviors increase the risk of HPV-associated SCCOP. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2011