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Routine Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Testing in Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer

Version: 2 ID: 5-9 Jan 2020
Type of Content: Guidelines & Advice, Clinical
Document Status: Current
C. Lacchetti, J. Waldron, B. Perez-Ordonez, S. Kamel-Reid, C. Cripps, R. Gilbert , Head and Neck Cancer Disease Site Group

Guideline Objective

To evaluate the appropriateness of, and make recommendations on, routine testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) status in adult patients with primary, or neck nodal metastatic, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head and neck.

Patient Population

Adult patients with squamous cell carcinomas arising in oropharynx, larynx, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, sinonasal tract, or oral cavity subsites or an unknown primary head and neck site.

Intended Guideline Users

  1. Clinicians involved in the delivery of care of adult patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
  2. Pathologists involved in the evaluation of HNSCCs.

Research Question(s)

  1. What is the relationship between HPV positivity and outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC)?
  2. In which head and neck subsites is the prevalence of HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma high enough to justify routine testing of HPV positivity?
  3. What is the diagnostic and prognostic value of routine testing of HPV status in patients with neck nodal metastatic squamous cell carcinoma from an unknown head and neck primary?
  4. What is the optimal testing method for the identification of HPV positivity in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC)?


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