Biology of human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancer

Semin Radiat Oncol. 2012 Jul;22(3):187-93. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2012.03.002.


Recent data show that human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) has a distinct biological and clinical behavior compared with human papillomavirus-negative OPC. As this subset of head and neck cancer represents an increasing public health concern, a thorough understanding of the causative and mechanistic differences between these diseases and how these distinctions impact clinical treatment is required. In this review, we will summarize recent data in epidemiology, the mechanism of viral carcinogenesis and differences in tumor biology that may provide insights to improve the clinical management of patients with human papillomavirus-positive OPC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / physiopathology