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Human Papillomavirus as an Independent Predictor in Oral Squamous Cell Cancer



There is an increasing evidence for the role of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relevance of HPV infection to the survival and prognosis of OSCC.


Fifty‐two patients with OSCC were followed from 4 to 88 months with a median of 50.7 months. HPV DNA was identified in formalin‐fixed, paraffin‐embedded tumor specimens by nested PCR with MY09/MY11 and GP5+/GP6+ primer pairs and the HPV genotype was determined by direct DNA sequencing. Association between the HPV status and risk factors for cancer as well as tumor‐host characteristics were analyzed. Survival curves were calculated by the Kaplan‐Meier method and analyzed using the log‐rank test.


HPV was found in 40.4% of the tumors with HPV16 accounting for 63.5%, HPV18 for 30.8%, HPV6 for 3.9% and HPV11 for 1.8%. No infection with more than one HPV genotype was detected. HPV infection was significantly associated with poor histological grade, TNM stage I–II, alcohol usage and no smoking status. Multi‐variate analysis showed that HPV had an independent prognostic effect on the overall survival after adjusting other confounding factors such as histological grade, TNM stage and tobacco usage. The presence of HPV was significantly correlated with a better survival in patients with OSCC.


HPV infection can act as an independent predictor for the survival and prognosis of OSCC.

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Correspondence to Ming‐wen Fan.

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Zhao, D., Xu, Q., Chen, X. et al. Human Papillomavirus as an Independent Predictor in Oral Squamous Cell Cancer. Int J Oral Sci 1, 119–125 (2009).

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  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)
  • survival analysis

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