Background: Oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) has been hypothesised as a risk factor for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), but aetiological research has been limited by the varying methodology used for establishing HPV prevalence. The aims of this systematic review and meta-analysis were to estimate the prevalence of HPV DNA detected in OSCC tumours and the influence of study characteristics. Methods: Study-level estimates of overall and type-specific HPV prevalence were meta-analysed to obtain random-effects summary estimates. Results: This analysis included 124 studies with a total of 13 832 OSCC cases. The average HPV prevalence (95% confidence interval) among OSCC cases was 0.277 (0.234, 0.320) by polymerase chain reaction; 0.243 (0.159, 0.326) by in situ hybridisation; 0.304 (0.185, 0.423) by immunohistochemistry; 0.322 (0.154, 0.490) by L1 serology; and 0.176 (0.061, 0.292) by Southern/slot/dot blot. The highest HPV prevalence was found in Africa and Asia, notably among Chinese studies from provinces with high OSCC incidence rates. Conclusions: Future research should focus on quantifying HPV in OSCC cases using strict quality control measures, as well as determining the association between HPV and OSCC incidence by conducting large, population-based case-control studies. Such studies will provide a richer understanding of the role of HPV in OSCC aetiology.
- human papillomavirus
- oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma