HPV DNA was detected in 61 percent of HPV-OPC patients at diagnosis. The prevalence of oncogenic oral HPV among the 87 female partners was 1.2 percent, which is comparable to the prevalence among women in the general population. The prevalence among the small number of male partners assessed in this study was also similar to that among men in the general population. HPV16, the subtype responsible for most cases of HPV-OPC, was detected in 54 percent of HPV-OPC patients but not among the partners.
No oral pre-cancers or cancers were detected in the partners during visual oral exam. However, a history of cervical disease was reported by nine (10.3%) partners, and 2 (11.8%) female cases, and 3 (2.0%) male cases reported a previous partner who developed invasive cervical cancer. This is consistent with research showing that male partners of women with cervical cancer have a two-fold increased risk of tonsillar cancer, and suggests cervical HPV and Pap testing for female partners of HPV-OPC patients is appropriate at the time of diagnosis of HPV-OPC.
While caution with new sexual partners is always appropriate, these findings are reassuring in that they affirm that the risk of HPV-OPC remains low among spouses and long-term partners of people with HPV-OPC.
"Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer cases and their partners" was written by Gypsyamber DSouza, Neil Gross, Sara Pai, Robert Haddad, Karen Anderson, Shirani Rajan, Jen Gerber, Maura Gillison and Marshall Posner.
|Contact: Susan Sperry|
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health