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Marshall Posner, MD, from Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses the factors that improve the prognosis for patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancer when compared to patients who are HPV-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.