Dr. Posner on HPV-Positive Oropharynx Cancer

Marshall Posner, MD
Published: Monday, Jan 07, 2013

Marshall Posner, MD, Medical Director, Head and Neck Oncology Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses factors that contribute to an improved prognosis for patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancer when compared to patients who are HPV-negative.

Posner explains that several retrospective studies have confirmed that HPV-positive oropharynx cancer is highly response to surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. This translates into a better prognosis for patients with HPV-positive disease. This variation is associated with biologic and demographic differences between the two patient populations.

Patients with environmentally caused, HPV-negative, head and neck cancer generally have a higher risk of developing a second tumor, Posner explains. Additionally, they deal with higher rates of smoking-related comorbidities. Inversely, those with HPV-positive tumors are usually younger and healthier. Biologically, HPV-positive tumors respond significantly better to treatment than negative.

Marshall Posner, MD, Medical Director, Head and Neck Oncology Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses factors that contribute to an improved prognosis for patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancer when compared to patients who are HPV-negative.

Posner explains that several retrospective studies have confirmed that HPV-positive oropharynx cancer is highly response to surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. This translates into a better prognosis for patients with HPV-positive disease. This variation is associated with biologic and demographic differences between the two patient populations.

Patients with environmentally caused, HPV-negative, head and neck cancer generally have a higher risk of developing a second tumor, Posner explains. Additionally, they deal with higher rates of smoking-related comorbidities. Inversely, those with HPV-positive tumors are usually younger and healthier. Biologically, HPV-positive tumors respond significantly better to treatment than negative.


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