Chapter

Methods of Cancer Diagnosis, Therapy, and Prognosis

Volume 7 of the series Methods of Cancer Diagnosis, Therapy and Prognosis pp 271-283

Date:

Role of Human Papillomavirus in Tonsillar Cancer

  • Eva Munck-WiklandAffiliated withDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Karolinska University Hospital Email author 
  • , Lalle HammarstedtAffiliated withDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Karolinska University Hospital
  • , Hanna DahlstrandAffiliated withDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Karolinska University Hospital

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Abstract

Tonsillar cancer is the most common of the oropharyngeal malignancies and belongs to the group of head and neck cancer that originate in the Waldeyer’s ring. Smoking and alcohol are regarded as the main etiological factors for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), but these tumors also occur in some 15-20% of patients without these risk factors. Accumulating data indicate that high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with a subgroup of HNSCC mainly oropharyngeal cancer (Gillison and Shah 2001; Mellin et al. 2000), and studies indicate that a history of smoking and high-risk HPV seropositivity, together, increase the risk for HNSCC suggesting that there is either an additive or synergistic relationship between these two risk factors.