Identification of human papillomavirus in oral rinse specimens from women with and without cervical intraepithelial lesions

Sex Transm Infect. 2020 Sep;96(6):408-410. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2019-054359. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the frequency of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the oral cavity of women with and without abnormal cervical cytology and to determine whether there is an association of oral HPV infection with infection of the cervix or with cervical cancer precursor lesions.

Methods: The present study was conducted among 406 women, aged 18-82 years, who attended the Prevention Department of Barretos Cancer Hospital (HCB), Brazil due to a previous altered cervical cytology result. Oral rinse, cervical cytology and biopsy were collected at the same day. The participants also answered a questionnaire about socioeconomic characteristics and risk factors for cervical cancer. Molecular screening for HPV16, HPV18 and 12 other high-risk HPV types was performed on cervical and oral rinse specimens using Cobas 4800 (Roche Molecular Systems, USA).

Results: HPV was detected in the oral rinse of 3.9% of participants. Infection of the oral cavity with a non-HPV16 or 18 type was most frequent (81.2%), followed by HPV16 (18.7%). Infection with HPV in the cervix and oral cavity was present in 11 (2.7%) of participants. There were no differences observed in the smoking status (p value 0.62), mean age of first sexual intercourse (p value 0.25), mean age of the first oral sex (p value 0.90) or mean lifetime number of sexual partners (p value 0.08) between the participants with oral HPV infection or not.

Conclusion: The presence of HPV infection in the oral cavity was low in the group of women with abnormal cervical cancer screening findings and a high rate of cervical HPV infection.

Keywords: HPV; cervical neoplasia; oral cavity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / epidemiology*
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / virology
  • Female
  • Human papillomavirus 16
  • Human papillomavirus 18
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Young Adult