Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of human papillomavirus-driven head and neck cancers

Haïtham Mirghani, Alain C. Jung, Carole Fakhry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven oropharyngeal cancers (OPCs) represent an increasing proportion of head and neck cancers that could become, in the next few decades, a public health problem in certain western countries. This significant epidemiological change strongly calls for preventive measures. Prophylactic HPV vaccination and screening programmes for early identification and treatment of premalignant lesions are currently being used to reduce the incidence of uterine cervical cancer, which is the paradigm of HPV-driven malignancy. These strategies have proven to be efficient as the incidence of cervical cancer has dramatically dropped since the 1960s in most countries where they are properly applied. The success of cervical cancer prevention encourages the development of similar approaches to prevent HPV-driven OPCs. However, a number of important limitations impede their application to HPV-driven OPCs, and the development of innovative and specific strategies dedicated to this disease are urgently needed. This article provides an overview on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of HPV-driven OPC and discusses some directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Cancer/neoplasm
  • HPV
  • Oropharyngeal/oropharynx/head and neck
  • p16
  • Primary/secondary/tertiary prevention
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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