Recent advances in the understanding and management of oropharyngeal cancer [version 1; referees: 3 approved]

Ashley Hay*, Iain J. Nixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is an increasing health problem in the developing and developed world. In recent years, there have been major changes in the treatment paradigms for OPSCC. This is because of a number of reasons: the understanding and discovery of a new viral etiology (the human papillomavirus [HPV]), changes in practice patterns owing to advances in radiotherapy, and then an organ preservation strategy with the increased use of chemotherapy. Next came the development of new surgical technologies and the emergence of a new treatment modality, immunotherapy. In this article, we discuss the evolution of OPSCC treatments, starting with the traditional tobacco era. Treatment paradigms then evolved during the organ preservation era, the HPV era, and the minimally invasive surgery era. We are currently in the immunotherapy era, with a number of new drugs becoming available both on trial and by approval for use in the clinical setting for head and neck cancer patients. We discuss a number of trials and the reasons behind attempts at both treatment escalation and treatment de-escalation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1362
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Immunotherapy
  • IMRT
  • Oropharynx
  • Robotics
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


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