Increased viral load correlates with improved survival in HPV-16-associated tonsil carcinoma patients

Marc A. Cohen, Suzanne R. Basha, Dawn K. Reichenbach, Erle Robertson, Duane A. Sewell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Conclusion. Our results indicate that viral load may serve as an independent prognostic indicator for patients with HPV-16-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil. Objective. HPV-16 has gained increasing attention as a possible causative agent for squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil. Recent reports have indicated that the viral load within the tumor, along with other factors, may be correlated to the patient survival. In this study, we sought to examine HPV-16 viral load as an independent prognostic indicator. Patients and methods. DNA was extracted from 35 tonsil carcinoma samples and the viral load was determined by real-time PCR. The patients were divided into four groups according to HPV-16 viral load. The correlation between viral load and recurrence, disease-free survival, and overall survival was assessed. Results. We found that HPV-positive patients with the highest viral loads had improved overall and disease-free survival. Recurrences of squamous cell carcinoma were significantly less likely to occur with increasing viral load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-589
Number of pages7
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ScD, for her statistical assistance. E.R. is supported in part by NIH grants # DE014136 and DE017338.

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania (E.R, D.S). The corresponding author also receives support from the NIH K08CA097218. The authors would like to thank Knashawn Morales,


  • HPV-16
  • Tonsil carcinoma


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