Developing a new diagnostic algorithm for human papilloma virus associated oropharyngeal carcinoma: an investigation of HPV DNA assays
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BACKGROUND: Human papilloma virus (HPV) has been implicated in the development of a large proportion of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Current techniques used to diagnose HPV etiology require histopathologic analysis. We aim to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of a new application non-histopathologic diagnostic tests to help assist diagnosis of HPV-related oropharyngeal tumors. METHODS: Patients with OPSCC with nodal metastasis were consecutively recruited from a multidisciplinary cancer clinic. Appropriate samples were collected and analyzed. The various tests examined included COBAS® 4800, Cervista® HR and Genotyping. These tests were compared to p16 staining, which was used as the diagnostic standard. StataIC 14.2 was used to perform analysis, including sensitivity, specificity and receiver operator characteristic [ROC] curves. RESULTS: The COBAS® FNA (area under ROC 0.863) and saliva (area under ROC 0.847) samples performed well in diagnosing HPV positive and negative tumors. Samples tested with Cervista® did not corroborate p16 status reliably. We were able to increase the diagnostic yield of the COBAS® FNA samples by applying the results of the saliva test to negative FNA samples which correctly identified 11 additional p16 positive tumors (area under ROC 0.915). CONCLUSION: Surrogate testing for HPV using alternate methods is feasible and closely predicts the results of standard diagnostic methods. In the future, these could minimize invasive procedures for diagnosing HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer, but also help to diagnose and treat patients with unknown primaries.
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