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Human papillomavirus tumour status is not associated with a positive depression screen for patients with oropharyngeal cancer

  • J R Qualliotine (a1) (a2), J A Califano (a1) (a2) (a3), R J Li (a1) (a4), D Gold (a3), B Messing (a3), G Lee (a3), P Ha (a1) (a3) (a5) and C Fakhry (a1) (a3)...

Several risk factors for depression in patients with oropharyngeal cancer have been determined. However, it is unknown whether human papillomavirus associated oropharyngeal cancer, which has a distinct clinico-demographic profile, modulates this risk.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of patients with oropharyngeal cancer. These patients had completed a 10-item depression screening questionnaire before receiving treatment for their disease from 2011 to 2014. Associations between patient or disease characteristics and depression screening questionnaire results were investigated.


The study comprised 69 patients, 31 (44.9 per cent) of whom screened positive for depression. There were no significant differences in distributions of clinico-demographic or histopathological characteristics, including human papillomavirus tumour status, by depression screen result.


This population has a high risk for depression, but no obvious risk factors, including human papillomavirus tumour status, were associated with an elevated risk. This inability to risk-stratify patients by clinico-demographic or disease characteristics emphasises the importance of regular depression screening for all patients in this population.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Carole Fakhry, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 601 N Caroline Street, JHOC 6th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA Fax: +01 (410) 955 6526 E-mail:
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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