Article Title

A comparative study of extracellular vesicle-associated and cell-free DNA and RNA for HPV detection in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma


Purpose: This study compares the detection sensitivity of two separate liquid biopsy sources, cell-free (cf) DNA/RNA and extracellular vesicle (EV)-associated DNA/RNA (EV-DNA/RNA), to identify circulating Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) DNA/RNA in plasma obtained from patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPCSCC). We also report on the longitudinal changes observed in HPV-DNA levels in response to treatment.

Experimental design: A prospective study was conducted that included 22 patients with locally advanced disease and six patients with metastatic OPCSCC. Twenty-three patients had HPV-related OPCSCC defined by p16 immunohistochemistry. Levels of circulating HPVDNA and HPV-RNA from plasma-derived cf-DNA/RNA and EV-DNA/RNA were quantified using digital droplet PCR.

Results:Circulating HPV-DNA was detected with higher sensitivity in cf-DNA compared to EV-DNA at 91% vs. 42% (p=

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that although HPV-DNA/RNA can be detected in EV associated DNA/RNA, cf-DNA/RNA is the more sensitive liquid biopsy medium. As circulating HPV-DNA levels were found to only correlate with treatment response in the locally advanced but not metastatic setting in our small cohort of patients, the use of HPV-DNA as a dynamic biomarker to monitor treatment response requires further evaluation.


head and neck cancer, tumour biomarkers

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library