Clinical Presentation of HPV-Driven Oropharyngeal Carcinoma

  • Michael MooreEmail author
  • Marion Couch


Due to the relatively subtle symptoms caused by lesions in the pharynx, oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC) are frequently not identified until they are at an advanced stage. Neck masses are commonly the presenting symptom, with small primary masses in the oropharynx. In addition, patients with human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer have a very different set of clinicodemographic characteristics than oropharyngeal cancer associated with smoking and alcohol usage. This may lead to physicians underestimating the significance of neck masses or throat pain in this younger, healthier patient population. This chapter will review the relevant clinical epidemiology, risk factors, and patient characteristics of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer, as well as the anatomy of the oropharynx and the adjacent structures. The typical clinical presentation and appropriate evaluation for these carcinomas will be outlined and the challenges of diagnosing these patients will be discussed. Second primaries and patterns of recurrence will be compared between HPV (+) and (−) OPSCC. And finally, the need for a revised staging system will be explored.


Human Papilloma Virus Soft Palate Oropharyngeal Cancer Tongue Base Neck Masse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck SurgeryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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