Oral alpha, beta, and gamma HPV types and risk of incident esophageal cancer

Ilir Agalliu, Zigui Chen, Tao Wang, Richard B. Hayes, Neal D. Freedman, Susan M. Gapstur, Robert D. Burk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Several studies have examined association between human papillomaviruses (HPV) and esophageal cancer, but results have been inconsistent. This is the first prospective study to investigate associations between α, β and γ HPV detection in the oral cavity and risk of esophageal cancer. Methods:Weconducted a nested case-control study among 96,650 cancer-free participants in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Cohort and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Incident esophageal cancer cases (n = 125) were identified during an average 3.9 years of follow-up. Three controls per case (n = 372) were selected and matched on age, sex, race/ethnicity, and time since mouthwash collection. α, β, and γ HPV DNA in oral samples were detected using a next-generation sequencing assay. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate OR and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusting for smoking and alcohol consumption. Statistical significance was evaluated using permutation test. Results: Prevalence of oral α, β, and γ HPV was 18.4%, 64.8%, and 42.4% in cases and 14.3%, 55.1%, and 33.6% in controls, respectively. Oral HPV16 detection was not associated with esophageal cancer (OR = 0.54, 95% CI, 0.1-4.84) and none of the esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cases (n=28) wereHPV16 positive. Some oralHPVtypes were more common in cases than controls; however, none of the associations were statistically significant. Conclusions: Although HPVs in the oral cavity are very common, this study showed no evidence of association between oral HPVs and esophageal cancer. Impact: Oral HPVs may not contribute to risk of esophageal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1175
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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