HPV-induced oropharyngeal cancer, immune response and response to therapy

Ha Linh Vu, Andrew G. Sikora, Shibo Fu, Johnny Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Approximately 25% of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) worldwide are associated with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV-positive HNSCCs have a more favorable outcome and greater response to therapy. While chronic HPV infection allows for the evolution of immune evasion mechanisms, viral antigens can still elicit an immune response. Moreover, a robust lymphocytic response is associated with better prognosis in a variety of tumor types including head and neck cancer. This article outlines several mechanisms whereby the observed improved response of HPV-positive tumors to radiotherapy may be related to enhancement of the immune response following radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2010


  • HPV
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Immune surveillance
  • Radiation


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