Epidemiology of HPV-Positive Tumors in Europe and in the World

Recent Results Cancer Res. 2017;206:27-35. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-43580-0_2.


Strong evidence has accumulated in the last 15 years showing that infection by certain human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is etiologically involved in a subset of head and neck cancers (HNCs). In this chapter, epidemiologic-related topics on HNCs are reviewed: (i) HPV-attributable fractions and HPV-type distributions by different anatomical HNC sites, using not only HPV DNA but other more specific markers of causality; (ii) an update of the HPV-related HNCs burden worldwide and by regions; and finally, (iii) the determinants for HPV positivity in HNCs, focussing on gender, age, smoking habits, sexual behavior, and other related factors such as tonsillectomy performance. This information is essential in order to understand the burden of the disease and its dynamics and changing patterns, as well as for planning and assessment of the potential impact of HPV-based preventive strategies for HNCs.

Keywords: Burden of disease; Epidemiology; HPV; Head and neck cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology*
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*


  • DNA, Viral