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28-07-2011 | Dermatology | Article

HPV infection increases risk for recurrent squamous cell carcinoma


Free abstract

MedWire News: Infection with type beta or gamma human papillomavirus (HPV) increases the risk for recurrent squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), show study results.

There has been some debate about whether HPV infection increases the risk for SCC, with some studies suggesting that such infection does and others that it does not actively promote tumor growth, as reported by MedWire News.

Damiano Abeni (Instituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, Rome, Italy) and colleagues assessed whether infection with HPV increases the risk for SCC recurrence in 107 patients with a prior SCC or basal cell carcinoma (BCC) who took part in a previous case-control study.

They found that patients with seropositivity to various beta or gamma HPV subtypes at baseline were significantly more likely to develop subsequent SCC's at 5 years than those without HPV at baseline.

Patients seropositive for beta 1 HPV-24 at baseline, for example, had a significant greater than four-fold increased risk for developing a subsequent SCC after 5 years.

Infection with HPV did not increase the risk for recurrent BCC, however.

"Although our study found a consistent and strong association between seropositivity for a number of 'cutaneous' HPV types and the incidence of SCC after having had at least another SCC, caution is needed when interpreting results from prevalent cohorts, i.e. cohorts consisting of persons in whom the disease process has already begun, because of the potential for bias due to differential time-since-infection distributions and of differential length-biased sampling," write the authors in the British Journal of Dermatology.

But, despite this, Abeni and team conclude that "we think that our data provide sufficient evidence to corroborate the results of previous case-control studies and to stimulate further and more comprehensive studies on the causal role of HPVs in non melanoma skin cancer to 'decide whether the association is bogus, indirect, or real.'"

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert