Betapapillomaviruses (βPVs) may contribute to the aetiology of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. However, no high-risk types have yet been identified, possibly because the high frequency of co-infection prevents a straightforward analysis of the independent effects of individual viruses. This study aimed to determine whether specific virus types were more likely to co-occur than others, thereby reducing the number of parameters needed in statistical models. Antibody data were analysed from controls who participated in case-control studies in The Netherlands, Italy and Australia and from participants in the German Nutrition Survey. Cluster analysis and two ordination techniques were used to identify patterns. Evidence of clustering was found only according to the number of viruses to which antibodies were detected. The lack of clustering of specific viral types identified suggests that if there are βPV types that are independently related to skin carcinogenesis, they are unlikely to be identified using standard epidemiological methods.
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