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HPV+ ???

Joanielo's picture
Posts: 55
Joined: Oct 2012

When I asked my dr if my tonsil cancer was HPV+, she said that there is "varying degrees" of HPV+. Apparently, some came back positive and some negative.
Has anyone else tested not completely positive for HPV??? What does this mean??

Dr. said that there are trials out there right now but not enough data to prove that lower treatment doses might be effective for HPV+.

My main confusion is about why would some be positive and some negative??

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

some are low risk for causing cancer (e.g, HPV-6 and HPV-8), some are high risk (HPV-16 and HPV-18).
like many others here, my dx was HPV-16+.
I never asked about testing positive for low-risk types. guess my focus has been on the cancer, rather than the possibility of getting genital warts from another type of HPV.

Joanielo's picture
Posts: 55
Joined: Oct 2012

I only wanted to know if my cancer was HPV+ or not.....I was not asking the question in relation to genital warts. I was a little confused when she said that some of my markers tested positive and others tested negative. I would have thought that I would be either positive or negative...I just wondered if my cancer was related to smoking or not AND if I might fall into the "responds a little better to treatment" catogory......I quit smoking in 2001...I appreciate everyone's input.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

my opinion, you deserve a better answer from her.
my non-professional understanding is that you should get a yes/no result for HPV testing. so when she says "markers tested positive and negative", maybe she means negative for HPV-16, but positive for another type. or vice versa.
but for most cancer patients, only HPV-16 and HPV-18 matters much. and if you were a smoker, might not matter much anyway.

best wishes for speedy recovery!

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2012

My diagnosis is this is squamous carcinoma. They are in the process of taking a 2nd biopsy to see if I it is HPV. They do not get into a number but it is my understanding that if your cancer is HPV related is more susceptible to the chemo and radiation and therefore your cure is more positive. I should be getting my tests back 1st part of next week I will quiz by Dr. a little further maybe I can get the answer to your question.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

That's new to me...either you have HPV+ derived cancer or you don't, which would show in the tissue biopsy of the affected area...as best I understand.

I was STGIII SCC Tonsils (and a lymhpnode) HPV+...

From my understanding...

Usually HPV+ derived H&N Cancer is a factor when the patient has no (or minimal) history of tobacco/alcohol involvment...no guarantees though.

Usually the HPV type in H&N is HPV16 or 18, I beleve.

The most accurate thing that I take from your MD's comments are that there are no studies at this time reducing the treatment between HPV derived cancer, and non-HPV.

So in reality, it really doesn't matter as far as treatment protocul, you're gonna get the same..

There have been some studies that suggest HPV derived cancer tends to respond well to treatment.

Anyways, there are many here, or maybe a 50/50 split on some of us HPV+, and non-HPV derived H&N Cancer.


Posts: 1914
Joined: May 2012

Hey there !
I'm no expert with this as my dx is different...ACC. But boy I have to wonder on if you need to get this nailed down a bit better. Yes, most treatments are the same for H/N dx's....but saying this...some others have..tx's..that won't work on mine. Hopefully some long time survivors with better info will pop in. Good luck ! Katie

Billie67's picture
Posts: 843
Joined: Jul 2012

My dx was laryngeal SCC IV with some node involvement on the R side. I don't smoke, never have and very rarely drink so my dr assumed I was HPV+ however all results came back negative. My dr said in the end it doesn't matter because treatment will be the same either way. They just like to know because in some cases HPV can rule out some other causes. I grew up around smoke(lots of it) so this is what we attribute it to.
Not sure if this helps you or makes things even more confusing but hopefully it helps.

Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband is positive for HPV 16 SCC of Tonsil/Bot. The oncologist explained that although there are many HPV strains(maybe over 100) the culprits are usually HPV 16 or 18, and that of these two HPV 16 is the strain most often seen.

Good luck on your journey. Ours was a little different because we started out with surgey first and now are going through chemo and radiation.


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

i am not a believer in percentages at all, to me either we survive or we don't

that being said, i know for certainty that the percentage for kicking cancer with positive HPV is much better.

as for less or the normal treatment, to me it more about is it worth the risk for the reward. i don't think it is worth the risk to do less of a treatment, kicking cancers *** is what it's all about, not wondering did i do enough to get rid of it.

as for some of each positive or neg. even if we have cancer does not mean it is everywhere. so some will be positive and some neg.

hope this helps


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Another post that a "LIKE" button is needed....


cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

I believe as you John!

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

amen on percentages.

but there is no overall test for HPV, with positives and negatives.
there are DNA swab tests for HPV-associated cervical cancer and anal cancer. there is biopsy testing of HPV-associated throat cancer. some lab now in San Diego now is claiming to do swab tests for HPV penis cancer. that's about it.

when they tested my throat biopsy, they didn't do a swab test for anal cancer (to my knowledge).
so still, there should be a yes/no answer for HPV-16/18 in throat.

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