Detecting the virus HPV to predict the presence of cancer

Full project title: Novel plasma Human Papillomavirus DNA assay as a predictor of residual disease after chemo-radiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer

Tag: Predictive tests

Predicative Tests
Dr Jennifer Lee
Dr Jennifer Lee

Project type:

Project Leader:
Dr Shree Bhide

Dr Jen Lee

Commencement date:
April 2018

Length of project:
1 year

Funding provided:

Oracle Cancer Trust

The Institute of Cancer Research

The problem

As well as alcohol and tobacco, the human papilloma virus (HPV) is a known risk factor in head and neck cancer. HPV-positive head and neck cancer has been rising over the past 30 years and is set to continue, with a predicted increase of 230% in coming years.

In patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancer, it is not always clear from scans (PET-CT) if treatment with chemo-radiotherapy has been totally successful in clearing the cancer. In these cases, patients frequently undergo unnecessary neck dissection and repeated biopsies to make sure there is no disease remaining, also called residual disease. This causes significant morbidity.

The research
The future
Blood test

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