Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 DNA in oral rinses is common at diagnosis, but rare after treatment for HPV oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC).
A study published online ahead of print in JAMA Oncology found a link between persistent HPV16 DNA in post-treatment oral rinses and poor prognosis.
Although infrequent, the rinse can potentially be a tool for long-term tumor surveillance, according to the study.
HPV-OPC incidence rates are increasing in the United States. Prognosis is typically favorable, however it has a 10% to 25% recurrence rate. Researchers evaluated whether HPV DNA detection in oral rinses post-treatment was associated with recurrence and survival.
Patients with HPV-OPC diagnosed between 2009 and 2013 were included in the study and samples were collected post treatment at 9, 12, 18, and 24 months following diagnosis. A total of 124 patients had one or more oral rinses available and were included.
Researchers found that at diagnosis, HPV16 DNA was present in 54% of samples. Post treatment, however, it was detected in six participants (5%), five of whom in which it was also detected at diagnosis. Two-year disease-free survival and overall survival rates were 92% and 98%, respectively.
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Persistent HPV16 DNA was associated with worse disease-free survival and overall survival. All participants with persistent HPV16 DNA developed recurrent disease.
However 9 of 119 participants (8%) without persistent HPV16 DNA developed recurrent disease.
- Rettig EM, Wentz A, Posner MR, et al. Prognostic implication of persistent human papillomavirus type 16 DNA detection in oral rinses for human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal carcinoma. JAMA Oncol. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2524.