HPV16 antibodies as risk factors for oropharyngeal cancer and their association with tumor HPV and smoking status

Karen Anderson, Kristina R. Dahlstrom, Julia N. Cheng, Rizwan Alam, Guojun Li, Qingyi Wei, Neil D. Gross, Diego Chowell, Marshall Posner, Erich M. Sturgis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Background Antibodies (Abs) to the HPV16 proteome increase risk for HPV-associated OPC (HPVOPC). The goal of this study was to investigate the association of a panel of HPV16 Abs with risk for OPC as well as the association of these Abs with tumor HPV and smoking status among patients with OPC. Methods IgG Abs to the HPV16 antigens E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, E7, L1, L2 were quantified using a programmable ELISA assay. Sera were obtained from 258 OPC patients at diagnosis and 250 healthy controls. HPV16 tumor status was measured by PCR for 137 cases. Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios for the association of HPV16 Abs with risk for OPC. Results HPV16 E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, E7 and L1-specific IgG levels were elevated in OPC patients compared to healthy controls (p < 0.05). After multivariable adjustment, Ab positivity for NE2, CE2, E6, and/or E7 was associated with OPC risk (OR [95% CI], 249.1 [99.3-624.9]). Among patients with OPC, Ab positivity for these antigens was associated with tumor HPV status, especially among never or light smokers (OR [95% CI], 6.5 [2.1-20.1] and OR [95% CI], 17.5 [4.0-77.2], respectively). Conclusions Antibodies to HPV16 proteins are associated with increased risk for HPVOPC. Among patients with OPC, HPV16 Abs are associated with tumor HPV status, in particular among HPV positive patients with no or little smoking history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015



  • Antibodies
  • Biomarker
  • Head and neck cancer
  • HPV
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Serology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Cancer Research

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