Human papilloma virus positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: A growing epidemic

Aru Panwar, Rishi Batra, William M. Lydiatt, Apar Kishor Ganti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is increasing despite a decrease in tobacco use. Almost 20-30% of patients with OPSCC do not have the traditional risk factors of smoking and alcohol use and in a vast majority of these patients, the human papilloma virus (HPV) appears to drive the malignant transformation. HPV induced malignant transformation is attributed to two viral oncogenes and their non-structural protein products (E6 and E7). These two proteins appear to affect carcinogenesis by their inhibitory effects on p53 and retinoblastoma proteins (Rb). Patients with HPV mediated OPSCC seem to have a better prognosis compared to their non-HPV counterparts. However, in the absence of strong evidence, standard of care at this time for OPSCC does not differ based on HPV status. Current research is focused on the role of de-escalation of treatment and elucidation of prognostic markers in this unique population. This review focuses on the pathogenesis of HPV mediated OPSCC and details the current evidence in the management of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-219
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Human papilloma virus
  • Management
  • Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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