High-risk human papillomavirus 16/18 associated with improved survival in sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma

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BACKGROUND: There has been conflicting evidence on the independent prognostic role of human papillomavirus (HPV) status in sinonasal cancer. The objective of this study was to assess whether the survival of patients with sinonasal cancer differs based on various HPV statuses, including HPV-negative, positive for the high-risk HPV-16 and HPV-18 (HPV16/18) subtypes, and positive for other high-risk and low-risk HPV subtypes.

METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, data from the National Cancer Database were extracted from the years 2010-2017 for patients who had primary sinonasal cancer (N = 12,009). The outcome of interest was overall survival based on HPV tumor status.

RESULTS: Study included an analytic cohort of 1070 patients with sinonasal cancer who had confirmed HPV tumor status (732 [68.4%] HPV-negative; 280 [26.2%] HPV16/18-positive; 40 [3.7%] positive for other high-risk HPV; and 18 [1.7%] positive for low-risk HPV). HPV-negative patients had the lowest all-cause survival probability at 5 years postdiagnosis (0.50). After controlling for covariates, HPV16/18-positive patients had a 37% lower mortality hazard than HPV-negative patients (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.82). Patients aged 64-72 years (crude prevalence ratio, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.51-0.86) and 73 years and older (crude prevalence ratio, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.31-0.59) presented with lower rates of HPV16/18-positive sinonasal cancer than those aged 40-54 years. In addition, Hispanic patients had a 2.36 times higher prevalence of non-HPV16/18 sinonasal cancer than non-Hispanic White patients.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that, for patients with sinonasal cancer, HPV16/18-positive disease may confer a significant survival advantage compared with HPV-negative disease. Other high-risk and low-risk HPV subtypes have survival rates similar to the rates for HPV-negative disease. HPV status might be an important independent prognostic factor in sinonasal cancer that could be used in patient selection and clinical decisions.

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ePub ahead of print