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Expert Differentiates Carcinogen-Induced and Virally Associated HNSCC

Angelica Welch
Published: Monday, Oct 30, 2017

Kathryn A. Gold, MD

Kathryn A. Gold, MD
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) consists of 2 biologically and clinically different diseases, according to Kathryn A. Gold, MD. The first of which is carcinogen induced, caused by tobacco or alcohol use, and the second being virally associated through the contraction of the human papilloma virus (HPV).

State of the Science Summit™ on Advanced HNSCC and Thyroid Cancer, Gold, a medical oncologist and associate professor of medicine at University of California, San Diego Heath, discussed HPV status and prognosis of these patients, as well recognizing risk factors of virally-associated HNSCC. In an interview during the meeting, Gold emphasized the need for differentiated treatment, as well as the realistic opportunity to prevent cancer through vaccination.

OncLive: Can you provide an overview of your presentation on virally mediated head and neck cancer?

Gold: In the clinic, we are increasingly recognizing that more of our patients are coming in without the traditional risk factors that we think of for head and neck cancer. Traditionally, we think of head and neck cancer as being a disease of older men and those with tobacco or alcohol exposure. Some of our younger patients do not have any of those exposures. It is becoming increasingly recognized that HPV is the cause of their head and neck cancer.
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