A role for human papillomavirus (HPV) has been suggested in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). In order to quantitate the available evidence, we reviewed studies examining the risk of laryngeal cancer-associated HPV. PubMed was searched for case-control studies conducted worldwide and published in any language since 1966. Relevant papers were hand-searched and cross-referenced. Six studies met the inclusion criteria. The studies are heterogeneous in the methods used to harvest tissue samples and techniques for detecting the virus within the tissue. HPV-16 positivity among cases ranged from 2.7% to 46.9% and 0-5.7% among controls. Two studies showed a significantly increased risk of LSCC if HPV-16 was present (OR 18.5, 95% CI 2.2-154.8, OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1-6.0). An increased risk was also observed for glottic versus supraglottic cancer in one study (OR 9.69, 95% CI 1.47-64.04). The direction of effect is towards an increase in risk of LSCC in people with evidence of HPV-16 infection. There is marked heterogeneity in the methods used to detect the virus and frequency with which it is detected. An adequately powered study using a reliable detection technique is required to confirm and quantify this risk and to examine effect modification.
- Case-control study
- Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma
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