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Cancer Epidemiol. 2015 Dec;39(6):1036-46. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

Sexual behaviours and head and neck cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Oral Health and Society Division, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, Québec, Canada.
2
Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, Québec, Canada.
3
Oral Health and Society Division, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
4
Division of Public Health, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, United States.
5
Division of Public Health, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, United States; Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, United States.
6
Oral Health and Society Division, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, Québec, Canada. Electronic address: marie-claude.rousseau@iaf.inrs.ca.

Abstract

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are associated with head and neck cancers (H&NC). Transmission of HPV to the upper aerodigestive tract occurs plausibly through sexual contact, although epidemiologic evidence on the role of sexual behaviours in H&NC aetiology is inconsistent. We conducted a meta-analysis of studies examining the association between four indicators of sexual behaviours (number of sexual partners and oral sex partners, oral sex practice, and age at first intercourse) and H&NC. Summary odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using fixed and random effects models for each indicator, contrasting 'highest' to 'lowest', 'ever' to 'never', or 'youngest' to 'oldest' categories. Twenty case-control studies were included out of 3838 identified publications. Using random effects models, summary ORs suggested an increased risk of H&NC for number of sexual partners [OR=1.29, 95% CI: 1.02-1.63] (19 studies) and number of oral sex partners [OR=1.69, 95% CI: 1.00-2.84] (5 studies), whereas no effect was observed with oral sex practice [OR=1.09, 95% CI: 0.88-1.35] (17 studies) and age at first intercourse [OR=1.40, 95% CI: 0.71-2.79] (6 studies). For number of sexual partners and oral sex practice, which were assessed in more studies, we further excluded studies contributing to heterogeneity and those not adjusted for age, sex, smoking, and alcohol consumption. The summary ORs were 0.95 (95% CI: 0.75-1.20) for number of sexual partners and 1.03 (95% CI: 0.84-1.26) for oral sex practice. Our findings highlight that observed associations might be partly attributed to confounding effects of sociodemographic and behavioural factors.

KEYWORDS:

Head and neck cancer; Human papilloma viruses; Meta-analyses; Sexual behaviour; Systematic review

PMID:
26372414
DOI:
10.1016/j.canep.2015.08.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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