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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 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 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 Information

  • Status: Active
  • Published online ahead of print: December 18, 2017
  • Originally published: May 2018

Guideline Resources

Download the following tools and resources to help implement the guideline:

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