Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a known causative factor in oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPC). In this prospective study, we sought to define the risk of HPV transmission between OPC patients and their sexual partners by performing HPV genotyping on oral cytology brushings.Newly diagnosed OPC patients and their sexual partners underwent oral mouth swabs and answered a risk factor questionnaire. Patient tumor samples and oral swabs from both the patient and partner were assessed for HPV status and genotyped using Easy-Chip HPV Blot PCR.We enrolled 227 patient-partner pairs and obtained sufficient analyzable DNA from both members in 198 pairs. Of 144 patients with available OPC tumor tissue, 128 (89 %) had HPV-positive tumors by either in situ hybridization or p16 immunohistochemical analysis (104 or 121, respectively). In total, there were 28 patients and 30 partners who were HPV positive by oral swab. The prevalence rate of oral HPV in partners was 15 %. There were 39 patient-partner pairs who had one or both members returning positive for HPV in the oral swab, and 49 % of these pairs were concordant for their HPV-genotype. Female partners had a higher oral HPV prevalence (16 %) than did male partners (11 %). Patients who were non-white were also found to have a higher oral prevalence of HPV (p?=?0.032) by mouth swab.Partners of OPC patients may have a higher prevalence of oral HPV and should be studied prospectively to understand their OPC risk. Additional future research is needed to identify oral HPV persistence in partners to OPC patients and to determine the optimal sampling methods and technologies to screen patients at high risk for HPV-related disease.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13027-016-0066-9
View details for Web of Science ID 000374861500001
View details for PubMedID 27123042