A Dental Blog With The Latest Dental News & Dental Technology For Your Dental Practice.
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and detection in healthy patient saliva samples: a pilot study.
BMC Oral Health 2011,
10 October 2011
The human papillomaviruses (HPV) are a large family of non-enveloped
DNA viruses, mainly associated with cervical cancers. Recent
epidemiologic evidence has suggested that HPV may be an independent risk
factor for oropharyngeal cancers. Evidence now suggests HPV may
modulate the malignancy process in some tobacco- and alcohol-induced
oropharynx tumors, but might also be the primary oncogenic factor for
inducing carcinogenesis among some non-smokers. More evidence, however,
is needed regarding oral HPV prevalence among healthy adults to estimate
risk. The goal of this study was to perform an HPV screening of normal
healthy adults to assess oral HPV prevalence.
Healthy adult patients at a US dental school were selected to
participate in this pilot study. DNA was isolated from saliva samples
and screened for high-risk HPV strains HPV16 and HPV18 and further
processed using qPCR for quantification and to confirm analytical
sensitivity and specificity.
Chi-square analysis revealed the patient sample was representative of
the general clinic population with respect to gender, race and age (p
< 0.05). Four patient samples were found to harbor HPV16 DNA,
representing 2.6% of the total (n = 151). Three of the four
HPV16-positive samples were from patients under 65 years of age and all
four were female and Hispanic (non-White). No samples tested positive
The successful recruitment and screening of healthy adult patients
revealed HPV16, but not HPV18, was present in a small subset. These
results provide new information about oral HPV status, which may help to
contextualize results from other studies that demonstrate oral cancer
rates have risen in the US among both females and minorities and in some
geographic areas that are not solely explained by rates of tobacco and
alcohol use. The results of this study may be of significant value to
further our understanding of oral health and disease risk, as well as to
help design future studies exploring the role of other factors that
influence oral HPV exposure, as well as the short- and long-term
consequences of oral HPV infection.