Age of onset of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis: a distribution analysis

Clin Otolaryngol. 2016 Oct;41(5):448-53. doi: 10.1111/coa.12565. Epub 2016 Feb 11.


Objective: Distribution of age of onset of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is generally described to be bimodal, with peaks at approximately 5 years and 30 years. This assumption has never been scientifically confirmed, and authors tend to refer to an article that does not describe distribution. Knowledge of the distribution of age of onset is important for virological and epidemiological comprehension. The objective of this study was to determine the distribution of age of onset of RRP in a large international sample.

Design: Cross-sectional distribution analysis.

Participants: Laryngologists from 12 European hospitals provided information on date of birth and date of onset of all their RRP patients treated between 1998 and 2012. Centers that exclusively treated either patients with juvenile onset RRP or patients with adult onset RRP, or were less accessible for one of these groups, were excluded to prevent skewness.

Main outcome measures: A mixture model was implemented to describe distribution of age of onset. The best fitting model was selected using the Bayesian information criterion.

Results: Six hundred and thirty-nine patients were included in the analysis. Age of onset was described by a three component mixture distribution with lognormally distributed components. Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis starts at three median ages 7, 35 and 64 years.

Conclusions: Distribution of age of onset of RRP shows three peaks. In addition to the already adopted idea of age peaks at paediatric and adult age, there is an additional peak around the age of 64.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*

Supplementary concepts

  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis