Geographic heterogeneity in the prevalence of human papillomavirus in head and neck cancer

Stefania Boccia, Gabriella Cadoni, Guido Rindi, Massimo Tommasino, Devasena Anantharaman, Behnoush Abedi-Ardekani, Daniel C. Beachler, Tarik Gheit, Andrew F. Olshan, Kathy Wisniewski, Victor Wunsch-Filho, Tatiana N. Toporcov, Eloiza H. Tajara, José Eduardo Levi, Raquel A. Moyses, Wolfgang Ahrens, Franco Merletti, David I. Conway, Sylvia Wright, Christine CarreiraHelene Renard, Priscilia Chopard, Sandrine Mckay-Chopin, Ghislaine Scelo, Paul Brennan, Gypsyamber D'Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), although strongly divergent results have been reported regarding the prevalence of HPV16 in different countries, whether this represents important differences in etiology remains unclear. Applying rigorous protocols for sample processing, we centrally evaluated 1420 head and neck tumors (533 oropharynx, 395 oral cavity and 482 larynx) from studies conducted in the US, Europe and Brazil for mucosal HPV DNA and p16INK4a expression to evaluate regional heterogeneity in the proportion of HPV16-associated OPSCC and other head and neck cancer, and to assess covariates associated with the risk of HPV16-positive OPSCC. While majority of OPSCC in the US (60%) were HPV16-positive, this proportion was 31% in Europe and only 4% in Brazil (p<0.01). Similar differences were observed for other head and neck tumors, ranging from 7% in the US and 5% in Europe, to 0% in South America. The odds of HPV16-positive OPSCC declined with increasing pack years of smoking (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.64 -0.87) and drink years of alcohol use (OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.54-0.76). These results suggest that while the contribution of HPV16 is substantial for the oropharynx, it remains limited for oral cavity and laryngeal cancers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • HPV16
  • alcohol
  • head and neck cancer
  • oropharynx
  • prevalence
  • smoking


Dive into the research topics of 'Geographic heterogeneity in the prevalence of human papillomavirus in head and neck cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this