Human Papillomavirus and Oropharyngeal Cancer

Dent Clin North Am. 2018 Jan;62(1):111-120. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Oct 7.


Human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HPV-OPSCC) comprises approximately 25% of all head and neck cancers (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, HNSCC). Epidemiologic studies have shown a dramatic increase of HPV-OPSCC in the past 2 decades, whereas tobacco-related HNSCC rates are decreasing worldwide. The distinctions between HPV-OPSCC and oral cavity cancers are now reflected in the most recent editions of the World Health Organization Classification of Tumors of the Head and Neck and the American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual, respectively. This review describes current understanding of the link between HPV infection and OPSCC.

Keywords: HPV 16; Human papillomavirus; Oral squamous cell carcinoma; Oropharyngeal cancer; Tonsillar cancer; p16.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology*
  • Humans
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomaviridae*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Infections / therapy
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines