HPV and cancer of the oral cavity

Virulence. 2015;6(3):244-8. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2014.999570.


Increased awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) as an etiological cause of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma has increased the interest in analysis of distinct oral sub-sites. It is currently under debate, whether HPV plays a role in the development of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity (OSCC). The weakness in most published studies is the lack of performing different HPV detection tests combined with analysis for biological activity of the virus. In addition, different sub-sites of the oral cavity had been combined to a single entity, which retrospectively leads to a highly heterogeneous basis of data. In this review we mainly discuss the unclear role of HPV in OSCC development.

Keywords: HNSCC, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; HPV; Head and neck cancer; Human papillomavirus,oral squamous cell cancer; OPSCC, oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; OSCC, oral squamous cell carcinoma.; human papillomavirus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Human Papillomavirus DNA Tests
  • Humans
  • Mouth / pathology
  • Mouth / virology*
  • Mouth Diseases / complications
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology
  • Mouth Diseases / virology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • DNA, Viral