Human Papillomavirus Testing in Head and Neck Carcinomas



The College of American Pathologists' (CAP) Pathology and Laboratory Quality Center developed a clinical practice guideline to standardize testing for HPV in certain types of head and neck cancers. This evidence-based guideline, "Human Papillomavirus Testing in Head and Neck Carcinomas: Guideline from the College of American Pathologists," is available as an early online release in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

The CAP formed an interdisciplinary, expert panel of surgical and molecular pathologists, cytopathologists, head and neck surgeons, and radiation and medical oncologists to develop the guideline, which recommends that all patients with newly diagnosed oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma be tested for high-risk HPV. The expert panel screened more than 2,200 articles and reviewed evidence from 492 studies to develop a total of 14 guideline recommendations.

Clinical teams should adopt the guideline to ensure eligible patients receive consistent, accurate assessment of HPV status.

Guideline Resources

In Q4 2017, the CAP expects to release this guideline. At that time, the following resources will be available to help implement the guideline:

  • Summary of Recommendations
  • Methodology Supplement (Supplemental Digital Content)
  • Teaching Presentation
  • HPV Testing in Head and Neck Algorithm
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Infographic