Boscolo-Rizzo P., Zorzi M., Del Mistro A., Da Mosto M.C., Tirelli G., Buzzoni C., Rugge M., Polesel J., Guzzinati S., the AIRTUM Working Group

PLoS ONE , published in February 7, 2018



The current study aimed to investigate the incidence and survival patterns of HNSCCs arising from different anatomic sites, potentially related (the oropharynx) or unrelated (the oral cavity, the larynx/hypopharynx) to HPV, to provide clues on possible growing impact of HPV in the epidemiology of HNSCC in Italy. Epidemiological data were retrieved from ten long-term Cancer Registries covering a population of 7.8 million inhabitants. Trends were described by means of the estimated annual percent change (APC) stratified by age and gender, and compared between HPV-related and HPV-unrelated anatomical sites. The data regarding 28,295 HNSCCs diagnosed in Italy between 1988 and 2012 were analyzed. In males, the incidence rate (IR) of cancers arising from sites unrelated to HPV infection significantly decreased in all age groups (APC:-3.31 for larynx/hypopharynx; APC:-1.77 for oral cavity), whereas stable IR were observed for cancers arising from sites related to HPV infection. In females, IR for cancers from HPV-related sites increased significantly over the observed period; the largest increment was noted in those over 60 (APC:2.92%) who also showed a significantly lower number of HNSCCs from the larynx/hypopharynx (APC:- 0.84) and a significantly higher number of oral cavity tumors (APC = 2.15). The five-year relative survival remained largely unchanged in the patients with laryngeal/hypopharyngeal SCC and, conversely, significantly improved in the patients with SCC at HPV-related sites. The trends observed suggest a potential increasing impact of HPV infection on the epidemiology of HNSCC in Italy, but to a lesser extent and with a different pattern from that observed in other Western countries.