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HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Methodology, Interpretation, and Significance



Indications for HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Slide 14

March 2012

Indications for HPV and p16 Testing in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

HPV testing is primarily considered a prognostic tool as patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma have exhibited better progression-free survival, decreased local-regional failure, and improved overall survival when compared to HPV-negative cohorts.  This data typically refers to patients when treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy. It has been hypothesized that the improvement in survival is related to escalated sensitivity to radiotherapy.  However, some studies suggest that the survival benefit may be observed even in the absence of radiotherapy, with surgical intervention alone. In other words, the improved prognosis may be independent of treatment modality. Nevertheless, there is compelling evidence to suggest that HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma fares better than cases that are HPV-negative.

HPV testing may also be employed in the setting of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of unknown origin. The classic scenario is metastatic squamous cell carcinoma to a cervical lymph node. These specimens are often labeled, "neck mass."

Indications for HPV and p16 Testing

 


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