Cofactors with human papillomavirus in a population-based study of vulvar cancer

Margaret M. Madeleine, Janet R. Daling, Joseph J. Carter, Gregory C. Wipf, Stephen M. Schwartz, Barbara McKnight, Robert J. Kurman, Anna Marie Beckmann, Michael E. Hagensee, Denise A. Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been previously associated with vulvar cancer. In a population-based study, we examined whether exposure to HPV, cigarette smoking, or herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) increases the risk of this cancer. Methods: Incident cases of in situ (n = 400) and invasive (n = 110) squamous cell vulvar cancer diagnosed among women living in the Seattle area from 1980 through 1994 were identified. Serum samples were analyzed for antibodies against specific HPV types and HSV2. HPV DNA in tumor tissue was detected by means of the polymerase chain reaction. In most analyses, case subjects were compared with population-based control subjects (n = 1403). Relative risks of developing vulvar cancer were estimated by use of adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Increased risks of in situ or invasive vulvar cancer were associated with HPV16 seropositivity (ORs = 3.6 [95% CI = 2.6-4.8] and 2.8 [95% CI = 1.7- 4.7], respectively), current cigarette smoking (ORs = 6.4 [95% CI = 4.4-9.3] and 3.0 [95% CI = 1.7-5.3], respectively), and HSV2 seropositivity (ORs = 1.9 [95% CI = 1.4-2.6] and 1.5 [95% CI = 0.9-2.6], respectively). When the analysis was restricted to HPV16 DNA-positive tumors (in situ or invasive), the OR associated with HPV16 seropositivity was 4.5 (95% CI = 3.0-6.8). The OR for vulvar cancer was 18.8 (95% CI = 11.9-29.8) among current smokers who were HPV16 seropositive in comparison with never smokers who were HPV16 seronegative. Conclusions: Current smoking, infection with HPV16, and infection with HSV2 are risk factors for vulvar cancer. Risk appears particularly strong among women who are both current smokers and HPV16 seropositive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1523
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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