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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 251-255

Human papilloma virus: A new risk factor in a subset of head and neck cancers


1 Department of Pharmacology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust University, Jolly- Grant, Dehradun, India
2 Department of E.N.T and Head-Neck Surgery, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust University, Jolly- Grant, Dehradun, India

Correspondence Address:
Manisha Bisht
Department of Pharmacology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust University, Jolly Grant, Doiwala, Dehradun, Uttrakhnad - 248 140
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.87004

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Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common malignancy worldwide. Tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption are two well known behavioral risk factors associated with head and neck cancer. Recently, evidence is mounting that infection with human papilloma virus, most commonly human papilloma virus-16 is responsible for a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma especially tumors of tonsillar origin. The molecular pathway used by human papilloma virus to trigger malignant transformation of tissue is different from that of other well known risk factors, i.e. smoking and alcohol, associated with squamous cell carcinoma. Apparently, these subsets of patients with human papilloma virus positive tumor are more likely to have a better prognosis than human papilloma virus negative tumor. Considering this fact, the human papilloma virus infection should be determined in all oropharyngeal cancers since it can have a major impact on the decision making process of the treatment.


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