Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Yawei Zhang


According to the International Research on Cancer (AIRC) oral cancers are a type of cancer that develops in people’s lip linings, mouth, and the oropharynx. Studies have shown that the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products are the primary carcinogens that cause oral cancers. However, increasing cases of young individuals with no previous exposure to alcohol or tobacco who are getting oral cancers have prompted studies to look into the role of other carcinogens, especially viruses. Currently, the IARC presents oral cancers as the sixth most common type of cancer in the world. High-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) types are responsible for over 50 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. Also, people also acquire HPV in the mouth, prompting studies to look into the virus’s association with oral cancers.

This paper performs a systematic review of studies investigating the association of oral cancers and HPV. The association of HPV and oral cancers began in the 1980s; however, more studies performed in the last decade until now are showing a positive association. From this research, it becomes clear that knowledge about oral HPV and oral cancers is expanding. Emerging research shows that the DNA of the HPV-16 virus are found on oral cancer tumors; hence, a positive causal association. More research is also coming with significant evidence to suggest a causal relationship between HPV and some oral cancers, most notably, those of the tongue and tonsils among people with no previous exposure to the usual carcinogens (Alcohol and tobacco).


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access