Dr Shumail Arslan, Dr Muhammad Shoaib Afzal Khan, Dr Atofah Ghazanfar
Background and objectives: Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPC) in the United States. The main objective of the study is to analyse the prevalence of HPV biomarkers in oral rinses and serology for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. Material and methods: This descriptive study was conducted in SIMS, Lahore during June 2019 to January 2020. Participants also had blood collected post-therapy, when possible, at follow-up visits targeted during routine clinical follow-up around 9, 12, 18 and 24 months after diagnosis. A detailed computer assisted self -interview (CASI) risk factor survey, tumor sample, and oral rinse and gargle sample, were also collected around diagnosis. Results: Most (85%; 98/115) HPV-OPC cases were HPV16 E6 seropositive at diagnosis. Median age of patients was 56 years, 90% were male, 56% were never smokers, and 95% were American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage III or IV. Comparing HPV-OPC cases that were seropositive versus seronegative for HPV16 E6 antibodies at diagnosis, characteristics were similar for stage, oropharyngeal subsite, age, gender, and risk behaviors, but HPV16 E6 seropositive cases were more likely to be Caucasian and to have a higher HPV16 DNA copy number detected in oral exfoliated cells. Conclusion: It is concluded that HPV-OPC post-treatment includes a variety of frequent clinical and radiological examinations that are based on standard oncological surveillance protocols rather than being specific for HPV related disease, and does not currently include serologic or virologic testing.