An Oral Oncology article stated that some HPV genotypes have better survival rates than others. With implications involving the greater survival rates of some infected individuals compared to other infected individuals, it brought up an important conversation. The distinctive survival rates are thought to be due to the expression of the p16 tumor suppressor protein. The HPV16 genotype had a better overall survival compared with cases positive for other HPV genotypes.
The article outlines how we have traditionally though of cancers of the head and neck to be associated with tobacco and alcohol. However, they also found that 60-70% of orphopharyneal squamous cell carcinoma are driven by HPV. the most commonly associated genotype is HPV16, but there is also HPV33, HPV18, and HPV35 which are also associated with orphopharyneal squamous cell carcinoma.
The findings created important discussions for those researchers and physicians. From things like patient care through limiting morbidity and side effect to risking harm when you want to ensure the complete removal of tumors, they were all very important considerations in the discussions. The findings create caveats as to the kind and intensity of individualized care that each patient would be receiving.
The results proved to be striking.
“Dr. Zevallos and his colleagues confirmed earlier findings that patients with oropharyngeal cancer tumors infected with HPV16 had improved overall survival. They also determined that patients whose cancer was infected with other HPV strains had similar survival rates as patients whose cancer did not have HPV at all.”What impact will this finding have on the care of patients? How will test specificity create issues for those who cannot afford further exams and laboratory work? These are some important questions that come to my mind when we think of the implementation of scientific findings into the healthcare system.
- Gianna Nino-Tapias ('18)
- Prognostic significance of non-HPV16 genotypes in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma