HPV-related Head & Neck Cancer: Personalizing Management

Can We De-escalate Nonsurgical Treatment? Combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy is the gold standard for management of oropharynx cancer. While HPV-related oropharyngeal carcinoma has a relatively high cure rate (over 80%) for stage III-IV at many institutions, side effects can be severe. Researchers are trying to answer the question of whether we can give less treatment, while not compromising cure chances. In the ongoing Quarterback Trial in the USA, patients with Stage III-IV HPV-related oropharynx cancer are randomized to reduced dose radiation therapy, carboplatin chemotherapy, and Erbitux targeted therapy versus standard-dose radiation therapy plus carboplatin.

hpv vaccine
HPV vaccine (Photo credit: VCU CNS)

My take: It’ll probably work. For those with children, consider vaccines against HPV. Boys and girls ages 11 or 12 through 26 (for girls) and 21 (for boys) should ask their health care provider about the vaccine. Others for which it is recommended include gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with a man), men and women with compromised immune systems (including those with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html)

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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