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May 1997

Human Papillomavirus in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Nonsmokers

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratoire Central d'Anatomie Pathologique (Dr Fouret) and the Service d'Oto-rhino-laryngologie et de Chirurgie de la Tête et du Cou (Drs Monceaux, Temam, Lacourreye, and Lacau St Guily), Hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(5):513-516. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900050063008

Objective:  To establish relationships between smoking status and human papillomavirus in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

Design:  Human papillomavirus was detected in paraffin-embedded samples using E6-directed consensus primers and type-specific oligonucleotide probes. Patients were classified as smokers and nonsmokers. Alcohol use was also recorded. Data were analyzed by means of the Fisher exact test. Sequence analysis of exons 5 to 8 of the p53 gene was performed in tumor samples from nonsmokers.

Setting:  Academic medical center in Paris, France.

Patients:  One hundred eighty-seven consecutive patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Results:  The overall prevalence of human papillomaviral infection was 10.7%. Human papillomavirus occurred more frequently (P=.02) in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (18.6%) than in other locations (6.1%). There were 10 nonsmokers (5%). The 50% incidence of human papillomavirus in nonsmokers (95% confidence interval, 19%-81%) differed significantly from the 8.5% incidence in smokers (95% confidence interval, 5%-14%; P=.003). No occupational risk factor was recorded in nonsmokers. None of these patients had p53 gene mutations in cancer cells.

Conclusion:  These findings suggest that human papillomavirus may play a role in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas in nonsmokers.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:513-516