Human Papillomavirus Infection: A Risk Factor for Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancers

  • Giuseppina CampisiEmail author
  • Vera Panzarella
Part of the Textbooks in Contemporary Dentistry book series (TECD)


A wide range of human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence data is now available for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs), especially for those cancers originating from the epithelial lining of the upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) (i.e., the pharynx, the larynx, and the oral cavity). There is strong evidence that supports HPV as an etiological cause of head and neck carcinogenesis particularly for distinct oropharyngeal subsites. A specific molecular, histopathological, clinical, and prognostic profile is intimately connected with HPV infection. While the role of HPV in oropharyngeal carcinogenesis is firmly acknowledged, its role in oral cancer is currently being debated. Several recent studies suggest the importance of correctly distinguishing HNSCCs by subsites, and utilizing more sensitive HPV-DNA detection techniques, in designing future studies. Defining the HPV status of the tumor aids in the correct management of patients with oropharyngeal cancers.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical, Oncological and Oral Sciences (DICHIRONS)University of PalermoPalermoItaly

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