(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Infection with specific subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin, according to an international team of researchers. This conclusion is based on study entitled “Case–Control Study of Cutaneous Human Papillomaviruses in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin,” which was published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In this study, the investigators aimed to determine whether cutaneous HPV infection is a risk factor for SCC of the skin. To meet their aim, the investigators conducted a case-control study (n=173 SCC cases; n=300 SCC-negative controls). For each patient, seropositivity against one or more cutaneous HPV types was measured: alpha, beta, gamma, mu, and nu. Additionally, patient SCC tumors (n=159) were tested for the presence of HPV-beta DNA.

The investigators found a positive association between SCC and seropositivity to HPV-beta (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.23–3.02). Additionally, SCC was associated with HPV 8 (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.14–2.84), HPV 17 (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.02–2.49), and HPV 10 (OR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.04–4.85).

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“When DNA-positive SCC cases were compared with controls, strong serologic associations were observed for HPVs 5 (OR, 3.48; 95% CI, 1.27–9.59), 17 (OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.29–8.72), and 24 (OR, 3.79; 95% CI, 1.24–11.5),” the investigators reported.

The investigators concluded that HPV-beta infections are associated with SCC, a finding that that “may lead to improved characterization of high-risk individuals and the development of novel prevention strategies.”