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Epidemiological aspects of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis: A population-based study


  • This work was performed at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head/Neck Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



The incidence of genital infections, cervical cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer induced by human papillomaviruses (HPV) is increasing in Western countries. Primarily, this study was conducted to estimate the incidence rate of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) in juveniles and adults in two Norwegian subpopulations for each year between 1987 and 2009. The secondary objective of the study was to investigate whether there are trends in the incidence rates of RRP in the study period similar to what we have seen for HPV-related cancer.

Study Design:

Population-based study.


Two Norwegian subpopulations with 2.6 million and 1.1 million inhabitants were investigated for the juvenile and adult forms of RRP, respectively, between the years of 1987 and 2009. Patients treated for RRP were identified in all ear/nose/throat departments located in the two areas.


The overall incidence rates of RRP in juveniles and adults were 0.17 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.10–0.25) and 0.54 (95% CI, 0.44–0.65) per 100,000, respectively. We found a preponderance of males in both groups (P = .000 for adults and P = .038 for children). There was no significant change in the yearly incidence rate during the study period, for either adults or children, even when stratifying for gender in each group. The median age at onset was 4 years for children and 34 years for adults, with no significant difference between genders, nor significant changes during the study years.


This study does not support our hypothesis of an increasing incidence of RRP, for either children or adults. The estimated incidence rates in the Norwegian subpopulations are consistent with former population-based studies. Male preponderance in children was an unexpected finding. Further studies are warranted. Laryngoscope, 2012