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      Oropharyngeal Cancer Epidemic and Human Papillomavirus

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          Abstract

          Patients with HPV-positive cancer were young and lacked traditional risk factors.

          Oropharyngeal Cancer Epidemic and HPV

          Abstract

          A growing body of research shows that human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common and increasing cause of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Thus, the International Agency for Research against Cancer has acknowledged HPV as a risk factor for OSCC, in addition to smoking and alcohol consumption. Recently, in Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, and Sweden, incidence of OSCC has increased, and an increase in the proportion of HPV-positive tumors was noted. On the basis of these data and reports indicating that patients with HPV-positive cancer have their first sexual experience at a young age and have multiple partners, we postulate that increased incidence of OSCC in the United States and some countries in northern Europe is because of a new, primarily sexually transmitted HPV epidemic. We also suggest that individualized treatment modalities and preventive vaccination should be further explored.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Global cancer statistics, 2002.

           D Parkin,  F Bray,  J Ferlay (2005)
          Estimates of the worldwide incidence, mortality and prevalence of 26 cancers in the year 2002 are now available in the GLOBOCAN series of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The results are presented here in summary form, including the geographic variation between 20 large "areas" of the world. Overall, there were 10.9 million new cases, 6.7 million deaths, and 24.6 million persons alive with cancer (within three years of diagnosis). The most commonly diagnosed cancers are lung (1.35 million), breast (1.15 million), and colorectal (1 million); the most common causes of cancer death are lung cancer (1.18 million deaths), stomach cancer (700,000 deaths), and liver cancer (598,000 deaths). The most prevalent cancer in the world is breast cancer (4.4 million survivors up to 5 years following diagnosis). There are striking variations in the risk of different cancers by geographic area. Most of the international variation is due to exposure to known or suspected risk factors related to lifestyle or environment, and provides a clear challenge to prevention.
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            Human papillomavirus and survival of patients with oropharyngeal cancer.

            Oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinomas caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) are associated with favorable survival, but the independent prognostic significance of tumor HPV status remains unknown. We performed a retrospective analysis of the association between tumor HPV status and survival among patients with stage III or IV oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma who were enrolled in a randomized trial comparing accelerated-fractionation radiotherapy (with acceleration by means of concomitant boost radiotherapy) with standard-fractionation radiotherapy, each combined with cisplatin therapy, in patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Proportional-hazards models were used to compare the risk of death among patients with HPV-positive cancer and those with HPV-negative cancer. The median follow-up period was 4.8 years. The 3-year rate of overall survival was similar in the group receiving accelerated-fractionation radiotherapy and the group receiving standard-fractionation radiotherapy (70.3% vs. 64.3%; P=0.18; hazard ratio for death with accelerated-fractionation radiotherapy, 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 1.13), as were the rates of high-grade acute and late toxic events. A total of 63.8% of patients with oropharyngeal cancer (206 of 323) had HPV-positive tumors; these patients had better 3-year rates of overall survival (82.4%, vs. 57.1% among patients with HPV-negative tumors; P<0.001 by the log-rank test) and, after adjustment for age, race, tumor and nodal stage, tobacco exposure, and treatment assignment, had a 58% reduction in the risk of death (hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.66). The risk of death significantly increased with each additional pack-year of tobacco smoking. Using recursive-partitioning analysis, we classified our patients as having a low, intermediate, or high risk of death on the basis of four factors: HPV status, pack-years of tobacco smoking, tumor stage, and nodal stage. Tumor HPV status is a strong and independent prognostic factor for survival among patients with oropharyngeal cancer. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00047008.) 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Global cancer statistics

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Emerg Infect Dis
                EID
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                1080-6040
                1080-6059
                November 2010
                : 16
                : 11
                : 1671-1677
                Affiliations
                Author affiliations: Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (T. Ramqvist, T. Dalianis);
                Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden (T. Dalianis)
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence : Tina Dalianis, Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Cancer Center Karolinska R8:01, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden; email: tina.dalianis@ 123456ki.se
                Article
                10-0452
                10.3201/eid1611.100452
                3294514
                21029523
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