Risk stronger with higher number of positive β HPV types and for people taking glucocorticoids

-- Jeff Muise

Friday, July 9, 2010 (Last Updated: 07/12/2010)

FRIDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Infection with genus β human papillomavirus (HPV) appears to be associated with incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, with the risk higher for long-term users of systemic glucocorticoids, according to a study published online July 8 in BMJ.

Margaret R. Karagas, Ph.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues took blood samples from 2,366 individuals (663 patients with squamous cell carcinoma, 898 patients with basal cell carcinoma, and 805 subjects in a control group). Using multiplex serology, the plasma samples were tested for L1 antibodies to 16 genus β HPVs. The risk for the two forms of skin cancer associated with seropositivity to β HPVs was calculated.

The researchers found a higher prevalence of the individual HPV types in patients with squamous cell carcinoma, but not basal cell carcinoma, in comparison to the control group. The risk for squamous cell carcinoma increased with the number of HPV types testing positive: odds ratio (OR) for one type positive, 0.99; OR for two to three types positive, 1.44; OR for four to eight types positive, 1.51; and OR for more than eight types positive, 1.71. The association was found to be stronger among long-term users of systemic glucocorticoids (OR, 3.21) compared to non-users (OR, 1.23).

"Given the widespread and growing occurrence of these malignancies, our results raise the possibility of reducing the health and economic burden of these cancers through prevention or treatment of HPV infection," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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