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Oral and pharyngeal cancers are the sixth most common cancer and account for up to 4% of all tumours worldwide.1 Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an established aetiological factor for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC),2 and HPV-positive OPSCCs show distinct tumour biology and pathological characteristics, improved treatment responses and survival compared with HPV-negative OPSCCs.2 ,3 Several biomarkers for presence of HPV infection exist, including oncoproteins, serological markers and HPV DNA.4 The biomarker p16 is broadly used as a surrogate marker for HPV infection and staining greater than 70% seems to correlate with the presence of transcriptionally active HPV.5 The overall HPV prevalence in tonsillar SCC is 58% in a newly published Danish study but reduced involvement of …
VLF and CGL share first authorship.
Contributors VLF searched the scientific literature and extracted data. All authors provided conceptual input, interpreted the findings, and contributed in significant ways to the final article.
Funding CGL is funded by the non-profit Candys Foundation and Kræftfonden (The Cancer Foundation).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.