1. Long-term sexual partners of patients with HPV-oropharyngeal cancer did not have increased prevalence of oral HPV infection or oropharyngeal cancer compared to the general population.
Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Fair)
Study Rundown: HPV, human papilloma virus, is one of the most well-known oncogenic human cancers and has been associated with cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether there was an increased prevalence of oral HPV infection and cancer risk among long-term sexual partners of patients with known HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC).
At the conclusion of this study, the authors found that oral HPV16 DNA was commonly detected among patients with HPV-OPC at diagnosis (61% with oncogenic oral HPV DNA, 54% with oral HPV16 DNA). However, they also found that long-term partners of patients with HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer did not have increased prevalence of oral HPV infection when compared to the general population. Furthermore, no pre-cancers or cancers were detected. Based on these results, the authors suggested that there is minimal risk of oral HPV infection for partners of patients with HPV-OPC. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this was a cross-sectional study with limited sample size and so limited conclusions can be made.
In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: The study authors enrolled a total of 164 patients with HPV-OPC and 93 of their long-term sexual partners. They then collected an oral rinse sample, risk factor survey, cancer history and oral examination, and evaluated the oral rinse samples for HPV DNA. Oral HPV prevalence among partners was then compared to that in the general population. The samples for general population were drawn from the Nationtal Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The authors found that female partners had similar prevalence of oncogenic oral HPV compared to the general population (1.2% versus 1.3%). No infections were detected among the six male partners. Furthermore, oral cancer screening showed no pre-cancers or cancers among partners.
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