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To evaluate for the first time the prevalence of human papillomavirus in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in a Middle-Eastern population, and to determine associations between human papillomavirus profiles and clinicopathological characteristics.
A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients treated for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma at the Hotel Dieu de France University Hospital (Beirut, Lebanon) between January 2010 and 2016. Existing formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour samples were analysed. Human papillomavirus DNA viral load and p16 expression were evaluated using polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry respectively.
Thirty patients (mean age of 60 years) were included. Twenty-seven per cent of patients were p16-positive/human papillomavirus DNA positive, 53 per cent were p16-negative/human papillomavirus DNA negative and 20 per cent were p16-positive/human papillomavirus DNA negative. Human papillomavirus 16 was the most frequent subtype (75 per cent). Smoking and alcohol consumption were significantly lower in the human papillomavirus positive group compared to the human papillomavirus negative group (p = 0.049 and 0.004, respectively).
Human papillomavirus rate was lower than reported rates in Western populations. Possible explanations include differences in social and cultural behaviours.
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