[Skip to Navigation]
[Skip to Navigation Landing]
Research Letter
October 1, 2020

Early Detection of Human Papillomavirus–Driven Oropharyngeal Cancer Using Serology From the Study of Prevention of Anal Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Infections and Cancer Epidemiology Division, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  • 3The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(11):1806-1808. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.4527

Oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) is rare and, in some countries, more than 70% of all cases are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).1 The type HPV16 accounts for more than 85% of all cases of HPV–associated oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC).1 Antibodies to the HPV16 E6 oncoprotein are biomarkers for determining the HPV status of OPC cases, with reported sensitivities of around 90% and specificities higher than 95%.2 Antibodies can be detected more than 10 years prior to OPC diagnosis.1,3 However, their positive predictive value for HPV-OPC is low, at approximately 1% per year.3,4 Most patients with HPV-OPC also have antibodies to other viral regulatory and oncoproteins (E1, E2, E7)1-3 and have higher antibody levels than seropositive individuals who do not develop cancer.1,3 Currently, there is no consensus on HPV-OPC screening,4 but including these other variables may improve the specificity of HPV-OPC prediction. We examined HPV16 E6, E7, E1, and E2 seropositivity and antibody levels in a cohort of older men who have sex with men (MSM).

Limit 200 characters
Limit 25 characters
Conflicts of Interest Disclosure

Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.

Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.

Err on the side of full disclosure.

If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.

Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.

Limit 140 characters
Limit 3600 characters or approximately 600 words