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HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Methodology, Interpretation, and Significance

Oropharynx Anatomy

Slide 5

March 2012

HPV can be detected in a number of anatomic subsites within the head and neck; in normal, reactive, and neoplastic conditions. As you well know, HPV has been detected in several tumor types other than squamous cell carcinoma. I mention this to point out the ubiquitous nature of HPV in the head and neck, not to draw parallels between the oncogenic role of HPV in squamous cell carcinoma and other head and neck malignancies.

What is the oropharynx? The current state of affairs in head and neck oncology requires that investigators, pathologists, surgeons, and oncologists alike understand precisely what is the oropharynx. To this end, the oropharynx extends from the plane of the hard palate superiorly to the plane of the hyoid bone inferiorly. It is distinguished from the oral cavity by the junction of the soft and hard palate superiorly and the line of the circumvallate papillae inferiorly. The lateral borders of the oropharynx are the anterior pillars of the fauces. Most importantly, the oropharynx includes the base of tongue and bilateral palatine tonsils.

Oropharynx Anatomy


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