Assessing the Role of HPV in Head and Neck Carcinoma Formation

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In 2009, 650,000 new cases of head and neck cancer were diagnosed around the world03; in the United States, this cancer subset has the fifth highest incidence and the sixth highest mortality among all types of cancer05. The risk factors associated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (herein, HNSCC) have changed drastically over the last thirty years – now, more individuals are being diagnosed with diseases linked to HPV, rather than alcohol or tobacco use01,02,03,04,05. This burden is borne disproportionately among the African-American community who have a lower overall disease incidence, but have higher rates of mortality, more dire side effects, and worse health outcomes associated with an HNSCC diagnosis. In this literature synthesis, I will focus specifically on the formation of HNSCC, its risk factors, and the potential implications of HPV infection on HNSCC development. Two different search methods were used to locate articles for this literature synthesis. Once I had determined that I would search for articles containing information related to HPV-HNSCC, I searched in both PubMed and Google Scholar, using the phrases, “HPV-associated head and neck cancer” and “‘Oropharyngeal cancer’ AND ‘HPV.’” In total, I located 21 articles that could potentially be used in this synthesis, 16 of which were eliminated because they were review articles, were too scientifically technical, or did not contain enough information about the risk factors or formation of HNSCC. In total, five articles were reviewed and analyzed for this paper. To begin, HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNSCC have a variety of risk factors. HPV-negative cases generally are associated with high rates of smoking and alcohol use01,02,03,04,05 and with moderate ma... ... middle of paper ... ...ko, J. Kowalski, R.M. Hirata, J.R. Saunders, W.H. Westra, & S.I. Pai (2009). “Prognostic significance of human papillomavirus in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas.” Laryngoscope, 119(08):1542–1549. Retrieved on 12 April 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pubmed/19522004. 04. Van Monsjou, H.S., M.L. Van Velthuysen, M.L. Van den Brekel, E.S. Jordanova, C.S. Melief, & A.J. Balm (2012). “Human papillomavirus status in young patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.” International Journal of Cancer, 130(08):1806–1812. Retrieved on 12 April 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pubmed/21607949. 05. Wang, X.I., J. Thomas, & S. Zhang (2012). “Changing trends in human papillomavirus-associated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.” Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, 16(01):07–12. Retrieved on 12 April 2012 from http:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22001331.

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