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      HPV & head and neck cancer: a descriptive update

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          Abstract

          The incidence of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has been gradually increasing over the last three decades. Recent data have now attributed a viral aetiology to a subset of head and neck cancers. Several studies indicate that oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is likely to be sexually acquired. The dominance of HPV 16 in HPV+ HNSCC is even greater than that seen in cervical carcinoma of total worldwide cases. Strong evidence suggests that HPV+ status is an important prognostic factor associated with a favourable outcome in head and neck cancers.

          Approximately 30 to 40% of HNSCC patients with present with early stage I/II disease. These patients are treated with curative intent using single modality treatments either radiation or surgery alone. A non-operative approach is favored for patients in which surgery followed by either radiation alone or radiochemotherapy may lead to severe functional impairment. Cetuximab, a humanized mouse anti-EGFR IgG1 monoclonal antibody, improved locoregional control and overall survival in combination with radiotherapy in locally advanced tumours but at the cost of some increased cardiac morbidity and mortality.

          Finally, the improved prognosis and treatment responses to chemotherapy and radiotherapy by HPV+ tumours may suggest that HPV status detection is required to better plan and individualize patient treatment regimes.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Human Papillomavirus Types in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas Worldwide: A Systematic Review

           A. Kreimer (2005)
          Mucosal human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the cause of cervical cancer and likely a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), yet the global prevalence and type distribution of HPV in HNSCC remains unclear. We systematically reviewed published studies of HNSCC biopsies that employed PCR-based methods to detect and genotype HPV to describe the prevalence and type distribution of HPV by anatomic cancer site. Geographic location and study size were investigated as possible sources of variability. In the 5,046 HNSCC cancer specimens from 60 studies, the overall HPV prevalence was 25.9% [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 24.7-27.2]. HPV prevalence was significantly higher in oropharyngeal SCCs (35.6% of 969; 95% CI, 32.6-38.7) than oral SCCs (23.5% of 2,642; 95% CI, 21.9-25.1) or laryngeal SCCs (24.0% of 1,435; 95% CI, 21.8-26.3). HPV16 accounted for a larger majority of HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCs (86.7%; 95% CI, 82.6-90.1) compared with HPV-positive oral SCCs (68.2%; 95% CI, 64.4-71.9) and laryngeal SCCs (69.2%; 95% CI, 64.0-74.0). Conversely, HPV18 was rare in HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCs (2.8%; 95% CI, 1.3-5.3) compared with other head and neck sites [34.1% (95% CI, 30.4-38.0) of oral SCCs and 17.0% (95% CI, 13.0-21.6) of laryngeal SCCs]. Aside from HPV16 and HPV18, other oncogenic HPVs were rarely detected in HNSCC. Tumor site-specific HPV prevalence was higher among studies from North America compared with Europe and Asia. The high HPV16 prevalence and the lack of HPV18 in oropharyngeal compared with other HNSCCs may point to specific virus-tissue interactions. Small sample size and publication bias complicate the assessment of the prevalence of HPV in head and neck sites beyond the oropharynx.
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            Chemotherapy added to locoregional treatment for head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma: three meta-analyses of updated individual data. MACH-NC Collaborative Group. Meta-Analysis of Chemotherapy on Head and Neck Cancer.

            Despite more than 70 randomised trials, the effect of chemotherapy on non-metastatic head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma remains uncertain. We did three meta-analyses of the impact of survival on chemotherapy added to locoregional treatment. We updated data on all patients in randomised trials between 1965 and 1993. We included patients with carcinoma of the oropharynx, oral cavity, larynx, or hypopharynx. The main meta-analysis of 63 trials (10,741 patients) of locoregional treatment with or without chemotherapy yielded a pooled hazard ratio of death of 0.90 (95% CI 0.85-0.94, p<0.0001), corresponding to an absolute survival benefit of 4% at 2 and 5 years in favour of chemotherapy. There was no significant benefit associated with adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy given concomitantly to radiotherapy gave significant benefits, but heterogeneity of the results prohibits firm conclusions. Meta-analysis of six trials (861 patients) comparing neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus radiotherapy with concomitant or alternating radiochemotherapy yielded a hazard ratio of 0.91 (0.79-1.06) in favour of concomitant or alternating radiochemotherapy. Three larynx-preservation trials (602 patients) compared radical surgery plus radiotherapy with neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus radiotherapy in responders or radical surgery and radiotherapy in non-responders. The hazard ratio of death in the chemotherapy arm as compared with the control arm was 1.19 (0.97-1.46). Because the main meta-analysis showed only a small significant survival benefit in favour of chemotherapy, the routine use of chemotherapy is debatable. For larynx preservation, the non-significant negative effect of chemotherapy in the organ-preservation strategy indicates that this procedure must remain investigational.
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              Chapter 2: The burden of HPV-related cancers.

              On the basis of current evidence regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) and cancer, this chapter provides estimates of the global burden of HPV-related cancers, and the proportion that are actually "caused" by infection with HPV types, and therefore potentially preventable. We also present trends in incidence and mortality of these cancers in the past, and consider their likely future evolution.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Head Neck Oncol
                Head & Neck Oncology
                BioMed Central
                1758-3284
                2009
                14 October 2009
                : 1
                : 36
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
                [2 ]Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Bielefeld Academic Teaching Hospital, Bielefeld, Germany
                [3 ]Department of Plastic Surgery and Burn Centre, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
                [4 ]The University College London, Ear Institute, Gray's Inn Road, London, UK
                [5 ]Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Spain
                [6 ]Department of Hematology and Oncology, Bielefeld Academic Teaching Hospital, Bielefeld, Germany
                Article
                1758-3284-1-36
                10.1186/1758-3284-1-36
                2770444
                19828033
                Copyright © 2009 Goon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

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