Could Mouth Rinse to Detect HPV DNA Be Associated With Predicting Risk of Head/Neck Cancer Recurrence, Death?

JAMA Oncology


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Maura L. Gillison, M.D., Ph.D., email Scott Merville at The full study is linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: Researchers examined if a mouth rinse to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA might be associated with helping to predict risk of recurrence of head and neck squamous cell cancer and death. This study included 396 adults with head and neck squamous cell cancer of the mouth or throat, of which 202 patients had HPV-positive cancers. The adults were tested for the presence of HPV DNA with an oral rinse at various times. After completing cancer treatment, the repeated detection of HPV DNA identical to their tumor type in oral rinses was associated with a higher risk of cancer recurrence and death. The typical follow-up time of about two years in this study may have underestimated the associations between the persistence of HPV and cancer recurrence. More research is needed but these findings suggest HPV DNA may be a promising biomarker to understand cancer treatment response and future risk of progression.

Authors: Maura L. Gillison, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and coauthors



Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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