Researchers: No routine imaging needed for HPV-related head and neck cancer

Not all cancers are created equal.

That’s why treatment and follow-up for head and neck cancers associated with HPV should be different from that of non-HPV forms of the disease, said Jessica Frakes, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

“Everyone recognizes that these HPV-associated cancers are very different than the non-HPV cancers, which are often due to smoking,” she told “There is really a trend now to separate these, based on deintensification of treatment, as well as what follow-up we should be doing for our patients.”

Frakes and her fellow researchers recently conducted a study to determine time to recurrence and mode of detection of recurrence in patients with HPV-related oropharanx cancer who had been treated with definitive radiation therapy.

“We found that the first 6 months were important and, if the PET/CT scan was negative and the patient was asymptomatic, we didn’t need to do further imaging,” she said. “We were able to determine some guidelines on what type of imaging, or lack of imaging, these HPV-positive patients should be receiving without compromising outcomes.”

Read more about the researchers’ findings at the link below: