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Oral human papillomavirus infection in England and associated risk factors: a case control study.

Hearnden, Vanessa; Murdoch, Craig; D'Apice, Katy; Duthie, Susan; Hayward, Nicholas J; Powers, Hilary Jane


Vanessa Hearnden

Craig Murdoch

Katy D'Apice

Susan Duthie

Nicholas J Hayward

Hilary Jane Powers


Objectives - This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of and associated risk factors for infection with oral high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) in adult participants within England, and to explore any association with oral mucosal buccal epithelial cell and whole blood folate concentration. Design - This was an observational study to determine oral HR-HPV prevalence in the study population. A case-control study was performed to explore the association between infection and folate status. Setting - This study was conducted in Sheffield, United Kingdom between April 2013 and August 2014. Participants - Seven hundred participants, aged 18-60 yr, were recruited from university students (n=179), university and hospital staff (n=163), dental hospital patients (n=13), Sexual Health Sheffield patients (n=122) and the general public (n=223). Interventions - Participants completed a lifestyle and sexual behaviour questionnaire, provided an oral rinse and gargle sample for the detection of oral HR-HPV and an oral mucosal buccal epithelial cell sample for the measurement of oral mucosal buccal epithelial cell folate. A blood sample was collected for measurement of whole blood folate concentration. Outcome measures - The prevalence of oral HR-HPV infection in the study population was the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures included associations between risk factors, folate status and infection. Results - The prevalence of oral HR-HPV infection in this cohort was 2.2% (15/680) with 0.7% (5/680) positive for HPV16 or HPV18. Twenty samples were excluded due to insufficient material for HPV detection. Participants with oral HR-HPV infection were more likely to be a former smoker, and have a greater number of sexual and oral sexual partners. Folate status was not linked to likelihood of HPV infection. Conclusions - The prevalence of oral infection with HR-HPV in adult men and women in Sheffield in the north of England was low. Smoking and sexual behaviour were associated with HR-HPV positivity.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 31, 2018
Journal BMJ open
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 8
Article Number 022497
Institution Citation HEARNDEN, V., MURDOCH, C., D'APICE, K., DUTHIE, S., HAYWARD, N.J. and POWERS, H.J. 2018. Oral human papillomavirus infection in England and associated risk factors: a case control study. BMJ open [online], 8(8), article number 022497. Available from:
Keywords HPV; Head and neck cancer; Oncology; Folate


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