Determining the utility of a screening program to reduce the incidence of HPV driven oropharyngeal cancer

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Vasani, Sarju
Frazer, Ian
Punyadeera, Chamindie
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2021
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Abstract

The last decade has seen a continued escalation in rates of human papillomavirus related oropharyngeal malignancy (HPV-OPC). This has occurred despite established national vaccination programs. In contrast, HPV associated cervical cancer incidence rates have declined, due in part to effective cervical cancer screening programs, many of which have moved towards the detection of high-risk HPV (hrHPV) as an early marker of malignant potential. This raises questions as to whether similar hrHPV screening methods could be used for early detection of HPV-OPC. Persistent oral hrHPV is a prerequisite for the development of HPV-OPC and can be accurately detected in saliva. Despite this, single point saliva testing for hrHPV lacks sufficient sensitivity and specificity to allow for effective population screening. Recent published literature suggests the use of serial saliva testing in targeted high-risk individuals, with an emphasis on biomarker persistence and intensity patterns, as a potential means of detecting even subclinical microscopic disease. When coupled with serological testing, this has the potential to provide an accurate test for screening at risk individuals. Despite these promising developments, several significant barriers to an effective targeted screening program remain.

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Oncoscience
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8
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© 2021 Vasani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Oncology and carcinogenesis
early detection
human papillomavirus
oropharyngeal cancer
saliva
screening
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Vasani, S; Frazer, I; Punyadeera, C, Determining the utility of a screening program to reduce the incidence of HPV driven oropharyngeal cancer, Oncoscience, 2021, 8, pp. 91-93
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