Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Medicine

First Committee Member

Karl Kingsley

Second Committee Member

Brian Chrzan

Third Committee Member

Tanya Al-Talib

Fourth Committee Member

Courtney Coughenour

Number of Pages



Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) encompasses a large family of oncogenic viruses responsible for increasing rates of both cervical and oral cancer, particularly among minority and low-income populations. Although this represents an increasingly significant public health risk, few studies have screened for oral HPV within Nevada. Based upon this information, the primary objective of this study was to provide a temporal analysis of oral HPV screening among a primarily low-income, minority patient population.

Methods: This retrospective analysis was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). In brief, unstimulated saliva samples were previously obtained from clinical patient volunteers that provided Informed Consent and Pediatric Assent (if applicable). DNA was isolated and screened using spectrophotometry for quality (A260:A280 ratio > 1.70) and quantity (concentration > 100 ng). Validated qPCR primers were used to screen repository samples for high-risk HPV strains HPV16 and HPV18.

Results: A total of N=930 samples were identified for this study, which involved n=555 samples from adults and n=375 from pediatric patients treated between 2011 and 2019. Demographic analysis revealed nearly equal distribution between males and females with most derived from non-White (minority) patients. qPCR screening revealed an overall increase in high-risk HPV of 3.17-fold from 5.7% in 2011 to 18.1% in 2019 and a coefficient of determination or R2 = 0.764, suggesting a strong, positive correlation between more recent sample years and HPV-positive results, which was observed among both pediatric (R2=0.671) and adult (R2=0.971) patients. In addition, although the average age among adult patients increased over time - a significant decrease was observed among pediatric patients from an average of 16.0 years to 14.81 years.

Conclusions: These data suggest temporal changes and positive increases in the prevalence of oral HPV among both the pediatric and adult patient samples taken from this clinic population. These data are important as considerations are made regarding which HPV vaccination education and awareness programs are introduced and the specific populations most likely to benefit from these interventions.

Key words: Human papillomavirus (HPV), high-risk HPV, oral screening, oral cancer, qPCR screening


high-risk HPV; Human papillomavirus (HPV); oral cancer; oral screening; qPCR screening


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health

File Format


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1253 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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