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: HIV prevention and risk behaviors follow weekly patterns

Related Stories

Device extracts rare tumor cells using sound

Apr 06, 2015

A simple blood test may one day replace invasive biopsies thanks to a new device that uses sound waves to separate blood-borne cancer cells from white blood cells.

Recommended for you

HIV prevention and risk behaviors follow weekly patterns

11 hours ago

The peak time for seeking information on topics related to HIV, such as prevention and testing, is at the beginning of the week, while risky sexual behaviors tend to increase on the weekends, according to a new analysis by ...

Mathematical model seeks functional cure for HIV

13 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Individuals with the natural ability to control HIV infection in the absence of treatment are referred to as elite controllers (ECs). Such individuals maintain undetectable viral loads ...

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.