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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 72-77

Incidence and characteristics of human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancers by p16 expression

Department of Oncology, Valavadi Narayanasamy Cancer Centre, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Murugaiyan Nagarajan
Department of Oncology, Valavadi Narayanasamy Cancer Centre, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, Coimbatore - 641 037, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/oji.oji_18_21

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Background: Head-and-neck cancers are one of the most common cancers in the Indian subcontinent. The rising incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV), especially in oropharyngeal cancers is likely to increase the burden by many folds. Hence, we decided to study the incidence of HPV in oropharyngeal carcinoma and its characteristics. Materials and Methods: Patients with primary squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oropharynx registered in our hospital between September 2018 and July 2020 were included in the study after obtaining informed consent. A total of 60 patients were included in the study. The evaluation of HPV status was done by immunohistochemistry for p16 expression. Results: The median age of presentation was 60 years (range: 38–85 years). Fifty-four patients were male and six patients were female. The incidence of HPV in oropharyngeal carcinoma was 21.7% (n = 13). There was no difference seen when we compare HPV-positive patients with HPV-negative patients as well as with the entire study population for the demographic characteristics such as age (P = 0.569), gender (P = 0.754), smoker (P = 0.368), history of alcohol consumption (P = 0.558), and history of tobacco chewing (P = 0.781). We did not find any association between HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients with anatomical subsites (P = 0.369), tumor stage (P = 0.397), and nodal stage (P = 0.592). HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCC (OPSCC) patients presented more at early stage as compared to HPV-negative patients (P = 0.005). HPV-positive patients had higher incidence of histological poor differentiation than HPV-negative patients (P = 0.024). Conclusion: The study highlighted the incidence of HPV (21.7%) among OPSCC patients using p16 expression. HPV-positive patients have propensity for early stage of presentation and histological poor differentiation. The demographic characteristics and anatomical subsites of OPSCC had no impact on HPV status.

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