Lajer, Christel Braemer4; Buchwald, Christian von3
1 Ph.d.-studienævnet for Medicin, Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Over the last 20 years, there has been increasing awareness of a subset of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC), i.e. HPV-positive HNSCC. These cancers seem to differ somewhat from HPV-negative HNSCC. Patients with HPV-positive HNSCC tend to be younger and have a lower intake of tobacco and alcohol. Distinct molecular profiles separate them from HPV-negative cancers and show similarities with HPV-positive cervical SCC. There is evidence that HPV-positive HNSCC is a sexually transmitted disease. Patients with HPV-positive HNSCC are often diagnosed at a late stage with large cystic lymph nodes in the neck. HPV-positive HNSCC show an affinity for the oropharynx, especially the tonsils and the base of the tongue, and tend to show low differentiation histopathologically. There is a better prognosis regardless of the treatment regimen for HPV-positive HNSCC compared with HPV-negative HNSCC, and this seems to be related to the immune system. Whether the new vaccines for HPV will protect not only against cervical cancer but also against HPV-positive HNSCC remains unknown.
Acta Pathologica Microbiologica Et Immunologica Scandinavica, 2010, Vol 118, Issue 6-7, p. 510-9