HPV-positive head and neck cancer patients fare better than HPV-negative patients

Feb 12, 2008

Head and neck cancer patients with HPV-positive tumors tend to survive longer and are more responsive to treatment compared with patients with HPV-negative tumors, according to a study published online February 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Human papillomavirus has been shown to be involved in the development of some head and neck cancers, particularly cancers of the upper throat, or oropharynx. Retrospective studies suggest that patients with HPV-positive tumors generally have a better prognosis than those patients with HPV-negative tumors, but these findings must be confirmed in clinical trials.

To examine the association between HPV infection and cancer prognosis, Maura Gillison, M.D., Ph.D., of Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues followed 96 patients with stage III or IV cancer of the oropharynx or larynx (voicebox). All of the patients were enrolled in the same phase II clinical trial and received the same treatment. The researchers collected data on the patients’ response to treatment and their survival times, as well as whether their tumors were HPV-positive or -negative.

Patients with HPV-positive tumors had higher response rates after chemoradiation therapy, compared to patients with HPV-negative tumors (84 percent vs. 57 percent), and their two-year overall survival rates were also higher (95 percent vs. 62 percent).

“Our data suggest that the risks and benefits of…therapies should be considered separately for HPV-positive and -negative patients,” the authors write.

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Forced mutations doom HIV: New study reveals how a potential HIV drug exacts its toll on viral populations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First cancer immunotherapy for dogs developed

Jul 04, 2014

Nearly every second dog develops cancer from the age of ten years onward. A few therapies derived from human medicine are available for dogs. A very successful form of therapy by which antibodies inhibit ...

Engineering light-controlled proteins

Jul 03, 2014

(Phys.org) —A University of Wyoming professor has engineered proteins that can be activated by near-infrared light as a way to control biological activities in deep tissues of small mammals.

Advancing medicine, layer by layer

Jul 02, 2014

Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah, who are both working in chemical engineering professor ...

Recommended for you

Clinical trial of herpes vaccine now enrolling patients

Jul 28, 2014

Creating a successful vaccine against two members of the family, the sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2), has proven to be challenging. A clinical trial being conducted by a ...

How we got ahead in HIV control

Jul 25, 2014

When AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s, HIV infection was a death sentence. But a global effort has ensured this is no longer the case for a growing number of people.

User comments : 0