Human papillomavirus and nasopharyngeal cancer

Vivek Verma, Charles B. Simone, Chi Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: There are no existing high-volume studies characterizing human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). Methods: The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) was queried for NPC with known HPV (2004-2013). Logistic regression ascertained factors associated with HPV-positivity. Kaplan-Meier overall survival (OS) was evaluated between HPV-positive and HPV-negative cohorts; Cox proportional hazards modeling assessed factors associated with OS. Patients with nonmetastatic disease receiving definitive chemoradiotherapy underwent propensity-matched OS analysis. Results: Altogether, 956 patients were analyzed (32% HPV-positive and 68% HPV-negative). Median follow-up was 23 months (range 0-67 months). The patients with HPV-positive disease were younger, less likely to be uninsured, lived in more educated areas, and presented with more advanced T (but not N/overall) classification. Median OS for HPV-positive and HPV-negative groups were 50 and 43 months, respectively (P =.171). The HPV status did not independently predict for OS (P =.183). No OS differences were observed after propensity matching (P =.734). Conclusion: In what we believe as the only large study of HPV-associated NPC, HPV neither correlates with nor predicts survival in NPC. Owing to the difficulty of addressing causality in database studies, further work must corroborate the findings herein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-706
Number of pages11
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • chemotherapy
  • human papillomavirus
  • nasopharyngeal cancer
  • nasopharynx
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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