Human papillomavirus predicts outcome in oropharyngeal cancer in patients treated primarily with surgery or radiation therapy

A. M. Hong, T. A. Dobbins, C. S. Lee, D. Jones, G. B. Harnett, B. K. Armstrong, J. R. Clark, C. G. Milross, J. Kim, C. J. O'Brien, B. R. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Objective:This study examines the prognostic significance of human papillomavirus (HPV) in patients with locally advanced oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) treated primarily with surgery or definitive radiotherapy.Methods:One hundred and ninety-eight patients with Stage 3/4 SCC were followed up for recurrence in any form or death from any cause for between 1 and 235 months after diagnosis. HPV status was determined using HPV E6-targeted multiplex real-time PCR/p16 immunohistochemistry. Determinants of recurrence and mortality hazards were modelled using Cox's regression with censoring at follow-up dates.Results:Forty-two per cent of cancers were HPV-positive (87% type 16). HPV predicted loco-regional control, event-free survival and overall survival in multivariable analysis. Within the surgery with adjuvant radiotherapy (n110), definitive radiotherapy-alone (n24) and definitive radiotherapy with chemotherapy (n47) groups, patients with HPV-positive cancers were one-third or less as likely to have loco-regional recurrence, an event or to die of any cause as those with HPV-negative cancers after adjusting for age, gender, tumour grade, AJCC stage and primary site. The 14 patients treated with surgery alone were considered too few for multivariable analysis.Conclusion:HPV status predicts better outcome in oropharyngeal cancer treated with surgery plus adjuvant radiotherapy as well as with definitive radiation therapychemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1517
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • human papillomavirus
  • oropharyngeal SCC or oropharyngeal cancer
  • outcome
  • radiotherapy
  • surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Human papillomavirus predicts outcome in oropharyngeal cancer in patients treated primarily with surgery or radiation therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this