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Cancers 2019, 11(4), 473;

Unlocking the Potential of Saliva-Based Test to Detect HPV-16-Driven Oropharyngeal Cancer

The School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology and the Translational Research Institute, Queensland 4059, Australia
Janssen Diagnostics, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Beerse 2340, Belgium
School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland 4029, Australia
Central Integrated Regional Cancer Services, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland Health, Queensland 4029, Australia
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Queensland 4102, Australia
Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, Leiden 2333, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Head and Neck Cancer)
PDF [908 KB, uploaded 18 April 2019]


The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) is rising in high-income countries, including Australia. Increasing evidence suggests that accurate HPV testing is pivotal for clinical decision making and treatment planning in these patients. Recently, the eighth edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer/Union for International Cancer Control (AJCC/UICC) tumor–node–metastasis (TNM) staging system for OPC (based on the p16INK4a (p16) status) was proposed and has been implemented. However, the applicability of this new staging system is still far from clear. In our study, n = 127 OPC patients from Queensland, Australia were recruited, and the tumor p16 expression in these patients was examined using immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. HPV-16 genotyping, viral load, and physical status (episomal versus integrated) in the saliva samples of OPC patients were determined using the qPCR method. A good inter-rater agreement (k = 0.612) was found between tumor p16 expression and oral HPV-16 infection in OPC. Importantly, according to the eighth edition staging system, HPV-16 DNA viral load (>10 copies/50 ng) was significantly associated with the advanced stages of OPC. In concordance with previous studies, a mixed HPV-16 form (partially or fully integrated) was predominately found in OPC patients. Taken together, our data support HPV-16 detection in saliva as a screening biomarker to identify people within the community who are at risk of developing OPC. View Full-Text
Keywords: human papillomavirus; oropharyngeal cancer; saliva; HPV-16 viral load; HPV-16 integration human papillomavirus; oropharyngeal cancer; saliva; HPV-16 viral load; HPV-16 integration

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Tang, K.D.; Baeten, K.; Kenny, L.; Frazer, I.H.; Scheper, G.; Punyadeera, C. Unlocking the Potential of Saliva-Based Test to Detect HPV-16-Driven Oropharyngeal Cancer. Cancers 2019, 11, 473.

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