HPV-Positive Oropharyngeal Cancer

Dentistry Today


Two specific strains of the human pa­pillomavirus (HPV-16 and HPV-18) are linked to the majority of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer tumors, according to an article published in the June 2010 issue of New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), entitled “Human Papillomavirus and Survival of Patients with Oropharyngeal Can­cer.” The authors Ang, et al also stated that the prognosis for survival among those diagnosed with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer tumors is significantly higher when compared to the survival rates of patients diagnosed with HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancer tumors—typically caused by factors such as smoking. Specifical­ly, the NEJM article states that, using a sample of 720 patients, a total of 63.8% of patients with oropharyngeal cancer (206 of 323) had HPV-positive tumors; these patients had better 3-year rates of overall survival (82.4% versus 57.1% among patients with HPV-negative tumors). To download a full-text copy of this article, visit content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJ­Me1003607.

(Source: Lanmark Group news release, June 29, 2010)