HPV-driven oropharyngeal carcinomas (OPCs) show geographical variations with increasing temporal trends in several areas. We investigated their frequency and clinical outcomes within a prospective multicenter cohort study in North-East Italy. A tumor was defined as HPV-driven by using at least two different biomarkers, usually HPV-DNA positivity and p16INK4A overexpression. Different survival outcomes were compared among patients with HPV-driven and non-HPV-driven tumors. Overall, 42/130 (32.3%) patients with newly diagnosed OPC during the period 2000–2018 resulted HPV-driven; HPV16 was involved in 37 cases (88%), HPV33 in 3 cases (7%), HPV58 and HPV18 in 1 case each. Over time, HPV-driven cases raised from 16.7% (6/36) during 2000–2006 to 46.1% (24/52) during 2013–2018 (p < 0.001). The increase in HPV-driven OPCs was more marked in females than males (p = 0.010), and the frequency of HPV-driven cases was similar in the different age groups. In comparison to cases with non-HPV-driven tumors, a significantly (p < 0.001) better progression-free and overall survival were recorded among patients affected by HPV-driven OPC. The prevalence of HPV-driven OPC cases has been significantly increasing during the last two decades also in North-East Italy and was associated with favorable outcome. OPCs driven by non-HPV16 oncogenic types were restricted to patients older than 68-yrs.
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