Should We De-escalate Treatment for HPV Positive Oropharyngeal Head and Neck Cancer?

  • Hisham Mehanna
  • Jennifer L. Bryant
  • Anthony H. Kong


Due to the rising incidence and relative sensitivity of HPV positive head and neck tumours, a number of groups worldwide have begun clinical trials investigating whether therapy should be de-escalated in these patients. Approaches for reducing treatment intensity include reducing or replacing chemotherapeutic agents, reducing (chemo)radiotherapy, or eliminating systemic therapy with or without the substitution of surgery. Within the coming 5 years, multiple studies are due to publish their clinical findings, which could aid in reducing the need of toxic treatments in these individuals, whilst maintaining positive outcomes. Currently, treatment regimens should not be altered due to HPV status, unless as part of a clinical trial.


Human papillomavirus Chemotherapy Radiotherapy Toxicity De-escalate Head and neck cancer Oropharyngeal cancer Clinical trials 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisham Mehanna
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Bryant
    • 1
  • Anthony H. Kong
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE), University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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