Clinical Research Papers:

Incidence and clearance of oral human papillomavirus infection: A population-based cohort study in rural China

Chaoting Zhang, Fangfang Liu, Yaqi Pan, Qiuju Deng, Xiang Li, Zhonghu He, Mengfei Liu, Tao Ning, Chuanhai Guo, Yongmei Liang, Ruiping Xu, Lixin Zhang, Hong Cai _ and Yang Ke

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:59831-59844. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16306

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Chaoting Zhang1,*, Fangfang Liu1,*, Yaqi Pan1, Qiuju Deng1, Xiang Li1, Zhonghu He1, Mengfei Liu1, Tao Ning1, Chuanhai Guo1, Yongmei Liang1, Ruiping Xu2, Lixin Zhang2, Hong Cai1 and Yang Ke1

1Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research, Ministry of Education, Laboratory of Genetics, Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute, Beijing 100142, China

2Anyang Cancer Hospital, Anyang 455000, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Hong Cai, email: [email protected]

Yang Ke, email: [email protected]

Keywords: oral HPV, natural history, China

Received: January 04, 2017    Accepted: February 20, 2017    Published: March 17, 2017


The natural history of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which is linked with the increased incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPSCC) has been incompletely studied. Oral swab specimens and questionnaire data were obtained bi-annually for up to 6 visits from 4314 healthy adults aged 25-69 in rural Anyang, China. HPV infection status was evaluated with PCR-based sequencing. Participants with at least two consecutive valid HPV results within the study period were included in the incidence and clearance analysis. Among 3289 participants included in this analysis (median follow-up time 18.3 months), incidence rates of mucosal HPV, oncogenic mucosal HPV and cutaneous HPV were 0.53 (95% CI: 0.39-0.73), 0.30 (95% CI: 0.20-0.46), and 4.17 (95% CI: 3.70-4.70) per 1,000 person-months respectively. Most newly acquired infections were cleared within one year. Recent practice of oral sex increased the risk of incident infection with mucosal HPV (Adjusted HR, 5.03; 95% CI, 1.16-21.73) and oncogenic mucosal HPV (Adjusted HR, 10.13; 95% CI, 2.14-48.06). Newly acquired oral mucosal HPV infections are rare and most are cleared within one year in rural Chinese. This study expands understanding of the natural history of oral HPV in countries with a lower incidence of HPV-OPSCC.

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