The role of Human papillomavirus in head and neck cancer and the impact on radiotherapy outcome

Radiother Oncol. 2010 Jun;95(3):371-80. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2010.04.022. Epub 2010 May 20.


The profound influence of Human papillomavirus (HPV) on the epidemiological pattern and clinical course of head and neck cancer (HNSCC) has led to a change in the traditional understanding of this disease entity. Separate therapeutic strategies based on tumour HPV status are under consideration and in this light provision of knowledge concerning the influence of tumour HPV on the radiation response in HNSCC appears highly relevant. This review provides a summary of the current understanding of the role of HPV in head and neck cancer with specific focus on the viral impact on radiotherapy outcome of HNSCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology*
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology*
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • ErbB Receptors