The Impact of Human Papillomavirus Infection on Skin Cancer: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Skin Cancer

Oncologist. 2020 Nov 15. doi: 10.1002/onco.13593. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: This study investigated the correlation between a history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and skin cancer risk.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study cohort comprised 26,919 patients with newly diagnosed HPV infection between 2000 and 2012; and with use of computer-generated randomly numbers, patients not had HPV infection were randomly selected as the comparison cohort. HPV infection cohort were matched to comparison individuals at a 1:4 ratio by demographic characteristics and comorbidities. All study individuals were followed up until they developed skin cancer, withdraw from the National Health Insurance program, were lost to follow-up, or until the end of 2013. The primary outcome was subsequent skin Cancer development. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to analyze the risk of skin Cancer with hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between the HPV and control cohort.

RESULTS: The adjusted HR of skin cancers for patients with HPV relative to controls was 2.45 after adjusting sex, age and comorbidities. (95% CI, 1.44-4.18, p < .01). The subgroup analysis indicated that a patient with HPV infections had a significantly greater risk of skin cancer if they were aged >40. Notably, the risk of skin cancers was found in group diagnosed with HPV within the first 5 years after index date (adjusted HR, 3.12; with 95% CI, 1.58-5.54). Sensitivity analysis by propensity score, matching with balanced sex, age, and comorbidities showed consistent results.

CONCLUSIONS: A history of HPV infection is associated with the development of subsequent skin cancer in Taiwanese subjects, and the risk wane 5 years later.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: In this Taiwan nationwide cohort study, there was a 2.45-fold increase risk of developing new-onset skin cancers for patients with incident human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, compared with the matched controls. Furthermore, the risk was noticeably significant among aged more than 40 years. A prominent risk of skin cancers was found in group diagnosed with HPV within the first 5 years after index date in this study. The results of our analysis may raise consensus on the effect of HPV infection and skin cancers. Clinicians are suggested to implement prudently on the differential diagnosis of skin cancers and HPV prevention and treatment, especially in older patients.