Differences in human papillomavirus–positive and –negative head and neck cancers in Belgium: an 8-year retrospective, comparative study

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Abstract

Objectives.

This study investigated the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) and compared patient profiles and outcomes between HPV-positive and HPV-negative groups.

Study Design.

This retrospective study included all patients treated for OPSCC in the University Hospitals of Leuven between 2004 and 2012. Paraffin-embedded tumor tissue was available for all patients. Patient characteristics, treatment, and follow-up data were retrieved from medical files. HPV status was determined by immunohistochemical staining for the p16 epitope.

Results.

Among 94 patients, the prevalence of HPV-positive OPSCC was 22.34%. Compared with HPV-negative tumors, HPV-positive tumors were correlated with less smoking and alcohol consumption, tonsillar sublocalization (P < .05), and younger age. HPV-positive OPSCC was associated with better overall survival (62.2%) compared with HPV-negative OPSCC (42.5%; P = .0588).

Conclusions.

Among patients with OPSCC, those with HPV exhibited profiles different from those without HPV. HPV-positive OPSCC was associated with better overall survival compared with HPV-negative OPSCC. HPV-positive OPSCC prevalence increased over time.

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