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Cancer Res. 2001 Apr 1;61(7):2799-803.

The association of human papillomavirus 16/18 infection with lung cancer among nonsmoking Taiwanese women.

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Institute of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Taiwanese women since 1982. High lung cancer mortality ratio of male:female in Taiwan (2:1) was observed, although less than 10% of female lung cancer patients are smokers. Until now, the etiological factor remains unknown. We hypothesize that high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 may be associated with lung cancer development based on high prevalence of p53 negative immunostainings in female lung tumors compared with that of male lung tumors. In this study, 141 lung cancer patients and 60 noncancer control subjects were enrolled to examine whether HPV 16/18 DNA existed in lung tumor and normal tissues by nested PCR and in situ hybridization (ISH), respectively. The concordant detection of HPV 16 and 18 DNA between nested PCR and ISH method was 73 and 85.5%, respectively. Our data showed that 77 (54.6%) of 141 lung tumors had HPV 16/18 DNA compared with 16 (26.7%; P = 0.0005) of 60 noncancer control subjects. In addition, ISH data showed that HPV 16/18 DNA was uniformly located in lung tumor cells, but not in the adjacent nontumor cells. When study subjects were stratified by gender, age, and smoking status, nonsmoking female lung cancer patients who were older than 60 years old had significantly high prevalence of HPV 16/18 infection. The odds ratio of HPV 16/18 infection of nonsmoking female lung cancer patients is much higher at 10.12 (95% confidence interval, 3.88-26.38) compared with 1.98 (95% confidence interval, 0.84-4.76) of nonsmoking male lung cancer patients. This result strongly suggests that HPV infection is associated with lung cancer development of nonsmoking female lung cancer patients. The high prevalence of HPV 16/18 infection may explain to a certain extent why Taiwanese women nonsmokers had a higher lung cancer mortality rate.

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