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Keywords:

  • human papilloma virus;
  • oral cavity cancer;
  • secondary malignancy;
  • risk exposure;
  • clinical association

Oral Diseases (2012) 18, 809–815

Objective:  The infection of human papilloma virus (HPV) has been reported in head and neck cancer; however, the clinical significance of HPV infection on the pathogenesis of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is still uncertain.

Materials and Methods:  The study recruited 103 patients with pathological early-stage OSCC between March 1997 and December 2003 from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan. Tumor specimens were HPV-genotyped by the EasychipVR HPV Blot method. Clinical association study was performed by using chi-square, Kaplan–Meier, and logrank tests.

Results:  Thirty-one patients (30.1%) were positive for HPV infection. The most frequent HPV types were types 16 (16 patients, 51.6%) and 18 (seven patients, 22.6%). HPV infection was not associated with tumor aggressiveness (pathological tumor stage or differentiation status), risk exposure (alcohol, cigarette, or areca quid chewing habit), or the treatment outcome (disease-free survival or overall survival). However, infection with HPV-18 was associated with the occurrence of a second primary cancers (P = 0.033), indicating the infection of HPV in OSCC enhances the susceptibility of developing secondary malignancy.

Conclusions:  There are 30% of the patients with OSCC infected with HPV, with most high-risk types. HPV-18 infection may enhance the susceptibility of second primary tumors. Large scale of validation study will be needed to confirm this result.