Get access

Role of human papillomavirus in the etiology of head and neck cancer

Authors

  • Nham Tran PhD,

    1. Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the University of Sydney, P. O. Box M 142, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia
    2. Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Barbara R. Rose PhD,

    1. Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the University of Sydney, P. O. Box M 142, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia
    2. Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christopher J. O'Brien AM, MS, MD, FRACS

    Corresponding author
    1. Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the University of Sydney, P. O. Box M 142, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia
    • Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the University of Sydney, P. O. Box M 142, Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Head and neck cancer is the world's sixth most common cancer, but despite advances in treatment, there has been no significant decline in the mortality rate. In recent years, there has been mounting epidemiologic and experimental evidence of a role for human papillomavirus (HPV) as the etiologic agent of a subset of head and neck cancers. The association is strongest for oropharyngeal cancers, especially those of the tonsil. HPV 16 is invariably the predominant type. HPV-positive cancers have been shown to be biologically distinct, clustering among nonsmokers and light drinkers, and have been associated with a favorable prognosis. This review examines the current findings of HPV in head and neck cancers and discusses implications for developing new treatments. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2006

Ancillary