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Clinical relevance of systematic human papillomavirus (HPV) diagnosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Chloé Bertolus1*, Patrick Goudot1, Antoine Gessain23 and Nicolas Berthet23

Author Affiliations

1 Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Department of Maxillofacial surgery, 47-83 boulevard de l’ Hôpital, Paris 75013, France

2 Institut Pasteur, Epidemiology and Physiopathology of Oncogenic Viruses Unit, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, Paris 75015, France

3 CNRS URA 3015, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, Paris, 75015, France

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2012, 7:13  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-7-13

Published: 30 May 2012


Head & Neck Cancer (HNC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide and among oral neoplasias about 90-92% are squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Alcohol and tobacco consumption have been recognized as the main risk factors for development of OSCC. However, 10 to 20% of patients suffering from OSCC have no history of use of these substances. Clinico-pathological evidence suggests that we are dealing with virally-induced cancers, and that HPV should not be a relevant candidate. A systematic search of HPV in OSCC has no real relevance in current clinical practice even although it is still relevant in organized research protocols. Further studies are ongoing, with the aim of identifying other infectious agents, including viruses, in OSCC.