Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection and Related Risk Factors in US Adults

An article in the journal Oral Diseases reviews increasing evidence that oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection contributes to risk of oral squamous cell carcinoma. The article also reports the first nationally-representative estimates of oral HPV prevalence in the adult population of the United States. The study found that an estimated 7.3% of the US population had one or more types of oral HPV detected in oral rinse, and 3.1% had one or more oncogenic HPV types. A substantial ex­cess risk of HPV infection in males is not explained by education, smoking, age of sexual debut or number of lifetime sex partners. Based on the published finding from a case-control study in which there was a 2.6 odds ratio for the association of head and neck cancer with oncogenic oral HPV infection, the estimated attributable risk for head and neck cancer in the US adult population was 4.7%. This means that there would be a 4.7% re­duction in the incidence rate of head and neck cancer in the United States if oncogenic HPV infection could be prevented. The results of the study also provide population data that help evaluate the likely public health benefits of prophylactic vaccination against oral HPV acquisition.
(Source: Oral Diseases, Accepted Article, DOI: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.20­11.01892.x; accepted manuscript online December 19, 2011)


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