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Prognostic biomarkers of survival in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: Systematic review and meta-analysis


  • Presented at the Royal Society of Medicine, February 2011, and at the American Head and Neck Society Research Workshop on the Biology, Prevention and Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer, October 2010

  • The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.



Human papillomavirus (HPV) positivity improves prognosis in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Combining HPV status with other biomarkers may improve its prognostic power.


The approach was a literature search for longitudinal studies of biomarkers in OPSCC, with systematic review and meta-analysis.


In all, 3130 articles were identified; 32 satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria. On meta-analysis, there was a significant overall survival (OS) benefit for patients with HPV positive and p16 positive tumors. There was some evidence of improved OS of OPSCC patients with raised bcl2; amplification of 11q3 and loss of 16q genes; and low c-met, ki67, IMD, PLK, FHIT, nuclear surviving, or nuclear cyclin D1. However, none of these was suitable for meta-analysis.


Survival from OPSCC is associated with several biomarkers, which constitute potential targets for research into improving the prognostic power of HPV in OPSCC. Larger trials are needed, with standardization of cut-points and adherence to consensus reporting guidelines. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2013