The role of surgery for HPV-associated head and neck cancer

Wojciech K. Mydlarz, Jason Y.K. Chan, Jeremy D. Richmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancer continues to increase in contrast to other head and neck cancer sites. There is a growing role for upfront surgery to treat these cancers in the era of organ preservation treatment strategies. This is becoming especially important in younger, healthier patients with HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma. Surgery for oropharyngeal cancer has evolved from large, open transcervical and transmandibular approaches to minimally-invasive transoral endoscopic techniques. Advances in transoral endoscopic surgery (TES) have led to renewed interest in upfront surgical treatment for oropharyngeal carcinoma. Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) and transoral robotic surgery (TORS) are two techniques that allow for complete oncologic resection through the mouth in select patients, with minimal cosmetic deformity and optimal speech and swallow function after completion of therapy. In this article we will review transoral approaches to oropharyngeal carcinoma: its oncologic and functional outcomes, and its role in the multi-disciplinary treatment of oropharyngeal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • HPV
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Minimally-invasive
  • Transoral laser microsurgery
  • Transoral robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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