The virome of HPV-positive tonsil squamous cell carcinoma and neck metastasis

The cover for issue 3 of Oncotarget features Figure 3, “Hierarchical clustering of tonsil squamous cell carcinoma cohorts based on viral signature detection pattern with associated pathological features (perineural invasion (PNI), lymphovascular invasion (LVI), and tumor stage (T stage)),” by Carey, et al.

In this prospective study, a pan-pathogen microarray was used to determine the virome of early stage, p16-positive OPSCC and neck metastasis treated with transoral robotic surgery and neck dissection.

The virome findings of primary tumors and neck lymph nodes were correlated with clinical data to determine if specific organisms were associated with clinical outcomes.

This will serve as a foundation for future research investigating the role of the virome in OPSCC.

Dr. Erle S. Robertson Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA said, “Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs), including oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), are classically associated with risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use.”

Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, including oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, are classically associated with risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use.

HPV-positive OPSCCs have a higher incidence amongst younger patients with higher performance status, lower tobacco consumption, and higher socioeconomic status.

Compared to HPV-negative OPSCCs, HPV-positive OPSCCs have an improved overall survival and disease-free survival, which is at least partially related to the increased sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The survival advantage of HPV-positivity persists even after adjusting for confounders, suggesting a difference in the tumor biology between HPV-positive and -negative OPSCCs.

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