European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 270, Issue 2, pp 405–416 | Cite as

Human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: what the clinician should know

  • Eric M. Genden
  • Ian M. Sambur
  • John R. de Almeida
  • Marshall Posner
  • Alessandra Rinaldo
  • Juan P. Rodrigo
  • Primož Strojan
  • Robert P. Takes
  • Alfio FerlitoEmail author
Review Article


The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is rising in contrast to the decreasing incidence of carcinomas arising in other subsites of the head and neck. The human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has played an increasing role in these epidemiological changes and as the etiology for a significant fraction of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, OPSCC in particular. Most importantly, many retrospective studies have shown that the prognosis differs significantly between patients with HPV-associated tumors and non-HPV associated tumors. Thus, questions arise on the choices of treatment for patients based on HPV status and the consequences of therapy. Given the recognized relevance of HPV status in OPSCC, many new questions concerning the biology, treatment, and prevention of HPV infection arise. This review is intended to highlight some of the major issues and frequently asked questions relevant for the clinician dealing with patients with OPSCC.


Human papillomavirus Oropharyngeal cancer Screening Detection Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric M. Genden
    • 1
  • Ian M. Sambur
    • 1
  • John R. de Almeida
    • 1
  • Marshall Posner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alessandra Rinaldo
    • 3
  • Juan P. Rodrigo
    • 4
    • 5
  • Primož Strojan
    • 6
  • Robert P. Takes
    • 7
  • Alfio Ferlito
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, The Mount Sinai Medical CenterThe Mount Sinai School of MedicineNewYorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Medical Oncology, Department of MedicineThe Mount Sinai Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.ENT ClinicUniversity of UdineUdineItaly
  4. 4.Department of OtolaryngologyHospital Universitario Central de AsturiasOviedoSpain
  5. 5.Instituto Universitario de Oncología del Principado de AsturiasOviedoSpain
  6. 6.Department of Radiation OncologyInstitute of OncologyLjubljanaSlovenia
  7. 7.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryRadboud University Nijmegen Medical CenterNijmegenThe Netherlands

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