Human Papillomavirus and Epstein Barr Virus in Head and Neck Carcinomas: Suggestions for the New WHO Classification

James S. Lewis, Rebecca D. Chernock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the 9 years since the last World Health Organization (WHO) classification for head and neck tumors, a great deal has changed. In particular, human papillomavirus (HPV) has emerged as the major etiologic agent and patient prognostic marker for squamous cell carcinoma, most profoundly in the oropharynx. It also casts a long shadow over all of the rest of head and neck cancer given its biologic and prognostic implications. By contrast, little has changed regarding our knowledge of Epstein-Barr virus in head and neck cancers, except as it relates to HPV in nonkeratinizing-type nasopharyngeal carcinomas. This article discusses some of the major advances in our understanding of virus-related squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and suggests several specific concepts and terminology for incorporation into the next WHO classification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Classification
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • World Health Organization
  • p16

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