Background: This study provides Australian data on the characteristics of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over the last 2 decades.
Methods: The HPV status of 515 patients with oropharyngeal SCC diagnosed between 1987 and 2010 was determined by HPV E6-targeted multiplex real time polymerase chain reaction assay (PCR) and p16 immunohistochemistry.
Results: The HPV positivity rate increased from 20.2% (1987-1995) to 63.5% (2006-2010). Among HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCC over the study period, the median age increased from 55.4 years to 59.8 years (p = .004) and there was a trend of an increasing proportion of never smokers (19.2% to 34.0%). The use of radiation therapy (RT) in patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer increased from 26.9% to 68.1% (p = .007) and we also observed a trend of improved outcomes.
Conclusion: Our data show a rising prevalence of HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCC in Australia over the last 2 decades. These patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCC are now presenting at an older age and about one third have never smoked.
- human papillomavirus (HPV)
- oropharyngeal cancer
- head and neck cancer