Human polyomaviruses and incidence of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in the New Hampshire skin cancer study

Anala Gossai, Tim Waterboer, Anne G. Hoen, Shohreh F. Farzan, Heather H. Nelson, Angelika Michel, Martina Willhauck-Fleckenstein, Brock C. Christensen, Ann E. Perry, Michael Pawlita, Margaret R. Karagas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin is a malignancy arising from epithelial keratinocytes. Experimental and epidemiologic evidence raise the possibility that human polyomaviruses (PyV) may be associated with the occurrence of SCC. To investigate whether the risk for SCC was associated with PyV infection, seropositivity to 10 PyV types was assessed following diagnosis in a population-based case–control study conducted in the United States. A total of 253 SCC cases and 460 age group and gender-matched controls were included. Antibody response against each PyV was measured using a multiplex serology-based glutathione S-transferase capture assay of recombinantly expressed VP1 capsid proteins. Odds ratios (OR) for SCC associated with seropositivity to each PyV type were estimated using logistic regression, with adjustment for potentially confounding factors. SCC cases were seropositive for a greater number of PyVs than controls (P = 0.049). Those who were JC seropositive had increased odds of SCC when compared to those who were JC seronegative (OR = 1.37, 95% CI: 0.98–1.90), with an increasing trend in SCC risk with increasing quartiles of seroreactivity (P for trend = 0.04). There were no clear associations between SCC risk and serostatus for other PyV types. This study provides limited evidence that infection with certain PyVs may be related to the occurrence of SCC in the general population of the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1250
Number of pages12
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • epidemiology
  • polyomavirus
  • serology
  • skin cancer


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