HPV Testing in Head and Neck Cancers

Ultima Vez Modificado: 17 de febrero del 2008

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My husband is a 54 year-old non-smoker, non-drinker with stage I moderately differentiated squamous cell cancer of the tonsil. He is about to begin radiation therapy. Should he request HPV testing in the tonsil biopsy, and would this change his treatment at all?

Answer

Pinaki R. Dutta, MD, PhD, Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Presence of HPV is increasingly being recognized as a risk factor for the development of oropharyngeal cancers. The tonsils are great lymphoid organs and “pick up” just about everything. Given that your husband is a non-smoker and non-drinker and is young, it is most likely that he has HPV. Testing for HPV would be of academic interest, but would not make a difference in management or treatment decisions.

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News
AACR: New Drug May Add to Therapy for Head and Neck CA

Sep 19, 2014 - The investigational drug alpelisib (previously known as BYL719) appears to inhibit activation of the pathway that leads to resistance to cetuximab, an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor agent used in the treatment of head and neck cancer. These findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's special conference "Targeting the PI3K-mTOR Network in Cancer," held from Sept. 14 to 17 in Philadelphia.



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