Mounting evidence suggests that human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer has an improved prognosis compared with HPV-negative disease. The most recent supportive evidence comes from an analysis of a Phase III trial presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Explore this issue:November 2009
Our study showed that HPV status is as strong a predictor of outcome as cancer stage for patients with oropharyngeal cancers, even after considering other factors such as age and smoking history, said lead author Maura Gillison, MD, PhD, Professor of Hematology and Oncology, Epidemiology, and Otolaryngology at Ohio State University in Columbus. Dr. Gillison said that tumor HPV status should now be part of the routine workup of patients with oropharyngeal cancers.
Oropharyngeal cancers are mainly attributable to chronic tobacco use and smoking, or to HPV infection. Retrospective analyses, meta-analysis, and small trials have suggested that HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer is a distinct entity, and the present Phase III study provides the most compelling evidence, she said, because it is the largest study to date.| | | Next → | Single Page