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Association between human papillomavirus status and health-related quality of life in oropharyngeal and oral cavity cancer survivors

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OBJECTIVES: The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for a subgroup of head and neck cancers (HNC). HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNC patients encompass heterogeneous groups regarding risk factors, sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, which may influence health-related quality of life (HRQL) differently. Since this has been sparsely studied, our study investigated the association between HPV status and HRQL in HNC survivors in Denmark.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 179 recurrence-free oropharyngeal and oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) survivors. HRQL was assessed on the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35 questionnaires. Linear and logistic regression models were adjusted for sociodemographic, clinical and lifestyle factors.

RESULTS: Most unadjusted results showed better HRQL among HPV-positive (n = 119) compared to HPV-negative (n = 60) OSCC survivors (average 18 months since diagnosis). After adjustments, the HPV-positive survivors reported higher role functioning (mean difference [MD] 9.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1 to -18.4), and fewer problems with speech (MD -9.0, 95% CI -18.0 to -0.1), sexuality (MD -21.9, 95% CI -38.0 to -5.9) and opening mouth (MD -13.7, 95% CI -26.6 to -0.8) compared to HPV-negative survivors.

CONCLUSION: Our findings support that HPV-positive OSCC survivors experience better HRQL than HPV-negative survivors. However, results indicate that sociodemographic, clinical and lifestyle factors explain most of the association between HPV status and HRQL. Findings suggest increased focus on the HPV-negative OSCC survivors with deteriorated HRQL in rehabilitation programs and future research to investigate the long-term effects of treatment among HPV-positive OSCC survivors who may develop symptoms later in survivorship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104918
JournalOral Oncology
Volume109
ISSN1368-8375
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020

ID: 61895847