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HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Methodology, Interpretation, and Significance



Epidemiology of OPSCC — Demographics

Slide 6

March 2012

For decades, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma has been largely attributed to long-term exposure to carcinogens such as alcohol, cigarettes, and betel nut. More recently, there has been a paradigm shift in how we think about oncogenesis in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; specifically, in the oropharynx. We have recently witnessed a bimodal distribution of patients afflicted by squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx. It turns out that there is also a new segment of the population that is being confronted with squamous cell carcinoma with increased regularity. These patients are the so-called HPV-associated cases of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Patients are typically younger, often between 30-40 years of age, lack a history of significant tobacco and/or alcohol exposure, and have engaged in "high-risk" sexual behavior. This latter term can be somewhat nebulous so allow me to be explicit: orogenital sexual practices.

Epidemiology of OPSCC — Demographics

 


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