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Testing for HPV in Patients With Sinonasal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2020

According to study results published in Cancer by Babak Givi, MD, of NYU Langone Health, New York, and colleagues, a small number of patients with sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma are being tested for human papillomavirus (HPV), and a diagnosis may be linked with improved overall survival. As HPV testing is recommended for patients with oropharyngeal tumors, the authors suggest that all patients with sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma be tested for HPV infection as well.

“To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the largest and most comprehensive retrospective study to examine the epidemiology of HPV-positive sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma and its association with overall survival published to date,” the investigators commented.

A total of 6,458 cases of sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma were identified from diagnoses between 2010 and 2016 from the National Cancer Database. After looking at HPV testing practices, treatments, and survival of these patients, the authors identified a total of 1,523 cases that were tested for HPV. Of those patients, the median patient age was 64 years, and 62.1% had advanced-stage tumors. In the final study cohort (n = 1,418), a total of 447 were HPV-positive, making up about one-third of the group. The patients with HPV tended to be younger (60 vs. 65) and more likely to have high-grade tumors as well as tumors attributed to the nasal cavity.

Patients with sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma and a positive HPV diagnosis were associated with significantly improved overall survival in multivariable regression analysis (hazard ratio = 0.45; 95% confidence interval = 0.28–0.72; P = .001). “Compared with [patients with] HPV-negative tumors, [patients with] HPV-positive sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma had an 18.5% higher overall survival rate at 3 years after diagnosis (74.6% vs. 56.1%; P < .001),” the authors reported.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information can be found at acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

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