The clinical impact of HPV tumor status upon head and neck squamous cell carcinomas

Eleni Benson, Ryan Li, David Eisele, Carole Fakhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is etiologically responsible for a distinct subset of head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCCs). HPV-positive HNSCCs (HPV-HNSCCs) most commonly arise from the oropharynx and are responsible for the increasing incidence of oropharyngeal SCC (OSCC) in the United States (US) and abroad. HPV-positive OSCC (HPV-OSCC) has a unique demographic and risk factor profile and tumor biology. HPV-OSCC patients tend to be white, younger, and have a higher cumulative exposure to sexual behaviors as compared with HPV-negative OSCC patients. HPV-positive tumor status also significantly improves survival, and is indeed the single strongest prognostic factor for OSCC. The mechanisms that underlie the improved prognosis conferred by HPV-positive disease are unknown. The purpose of this review is to describe the clinical impact of HPV status in HNSCC, particularly in OSCC, both in terms of the unique clinic-demographic profile and prognostic implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • HPV
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • Prognosis
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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