(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Sunlight exposure and infection with specific serotypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) are associated with development of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), according to an international team of researchers. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Sunlight Exposure and Cutaneous Human Papillomavirus Seroreactivity in Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the Skin,” which was published first online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on June 1.

“Ultraviolet radiation exposure may interact synergistically with cutaneous human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the development of BCC and SCC of the skin, but the effect of genus-specific HPV serostatus is unknown,” the investigators wrote. The purpose of the study was to investigate differences in the risk of sunlight-associated BCC and SCC by cutaneous genus-specific HPV serostatus. To meet this purpose, the investigators conducted a case-control study among 204 BCC and 156 SCC cases, as well as 297 controls with no history of cancer.

The investigators reported that sunburn due to cutaneous sensitivity to sunlight exposure (P=.006) and poor tanning ability (P=.003) were associated with a higher seroprevalence for genus beta HPV types. Poor or no tanning ability was more strongly associated with SCC among individuals who were seropositive for antibodies to cutaneous HPV types in genera alpha (Odds Ratio [OR], 15.60; 95% CI, 5.40–45.1; P=.01 for interaction) and beta (OR, 6.86; 95% CI, 3.68–12.80; P=.001 for interaction), compared with individuals who were seronegative for these HPV types.

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The investigators concluded: “Seropositivity for HPV types in genera alpha or beta increased the risk of SCC associated with poor tanning ability.”