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No studies have investigated dietary differences between head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive tumors and patients with HPV-negative tumors. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between diet and HPV status in HNSCC patients. Cases of HNSCC were recruited from 2 clinical centers participating in the University of Michigan Head and Neck Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE). HPV tissue genotyping was performed, and epidemiological and dietary data collected. Multivariable logistic regression tested whether pretreatment consumption of 12 selected micronutrients was significantly associated with HPV-positive status in 143 patients newly diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity or pharynx. After controlling for age, sex, body mass index, tumor site, cancer stage, problem drinking, smoking, and energy intake, significant and positive associations were observed between vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, β-carotene, and folate intake and HPV-positive status (Ptrend < 0.05), suggesting that diet may be a factor in the improved prognosis documented in those with HPV-positive HNSCC. Dietary differences by HPV status should be considered in prognostic studies to better understand the influence of diet on HNSCC survival.

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