Population-based evidence of increased survival in human papillomavirus-related head and neck cancer

European Journal of Cancer, 04/27/2012

The authors demonstrate a population level improvement in survival among patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell cancers commonly related to infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). In contrast, patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) not related to HPV only showed a modest improvement in survival in the period 1981–2007. A concomitant increase in incidence and survival was observed for HPV–related cancers only. This trend cannot be explained by changes in treatment, cancer registration nor screening, but is most likely due to an increased prevalence of HPV–positive tumours.

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