HPV Induced Head & Neck Cancer

What is HPV induced cancer? Human papilloma virus is a group of more than 150 types of viruses. They are called papilloma viruses because some of them cause a type of growth called a papilloma which are more commonly called warts. HPV types are referred to as numbers. The type linked to throat cancer is HPV16, which includes cancer of the oropharynx. HPV associated cancer is one that is diagnosed in a part of body where HPV is found. HPV attributable cancer is one that is probably caused by HPV. HPV-related head and neck cancers occur primarily in the oropharynx

Symptoms for Oropharynx Cancer
  • Lesions in your mouth and or throat
  • Earaches
  • Lingering sore Swollen lymph nodes
  • A change or hoarseness in the voice

HPV infections that are persistent can lead to more serious lesions that if left untreated can progress to cancer. Some factors that may increase the risk of developing cancer following a high risk HPV infection:
  • smoking
  • weakened immune system
  • poor oral hygiene
  • chronic inflammation
Risk Factors
  • Recent studies show that approximately 60% - 70% of cancers of the oropharynx may be linked to HPV
  • Oropharyngeal cancers are more common in white men
  • HPV infection is linked to sexual behaviors such as open mouth kissing and oral sex.
  • HPV related cancers occur on the tonsillar area, the base of the tongue and the oropharynx
  • Non-HPV positive tumors tend to involve the anterior tongue, floor of mouth, mucosa of the cheeks and alveolar ridges
  • Head and neck cancers caused by HPV infection tend to respond better to current treatments as compared to head and neck cancers caused by tobacco or alcohol use.
  • A biopsy of the lesion needs to completed to determine whether HPV DNA is present
Treatment Options