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Curr Oncol Rep. 2006 Mar;8(2):130-9.

The role of human papillomavirus in squamous carcinoma of the head and neck.

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Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Unit 441, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Human papillomavirus type-16 infection is associated with a significant portion of squamous carcinoma of the head and neck, particularly for the oropharynx and for those lacking the other risk factors of tobacco and alcohol. The link between human papillomavirus type-16 and carcinoma of the oropharynx is based on the identification of human papillomavirus type-16 in oropharyngeal tumors and the association of human papillomavirus type-16 with the risk of oropharyngeal cancer estimated in case-control epidemiologic studies. This review highlights the molecular mechanism of human papillomavirus carcinogenesis and the association of human papillomavirus type-16 as a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx as well as recent research efforts utilizing human papillomavirus as a biomarker of clinical outcomes.

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