Short Courses and Special Courses

SC37 – Head and Neck Pathology in the Human Papillomavirus Era: A Crash Course

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
This Short Course session includes up to a 30-minute break.

Session Credits:

3 CME and 3 SAMs


Justin A. Bishop, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
Rebecca D. Chernock, MD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
James S. Lewis, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, TN

Course Description

The recent discovery of human-papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) as a distinct and quite common entity has revolutionized the field of head and neck cancer over the past decade. HPV status in OPSCC now affects (or very soon will affect) nearly all aspects of patient care from prognosis, to early cancer detection, to tumor localization, to selection of patients most likely to benefit from specific therapies, and to post-treatment tumor surveillance. In addition, there is vast literature on HPV in a myriad of other head and neck lesions, and new studies are coming out all the time. There are new and emerging HPV-related carcinomas that can be easily mistaken for other tumors or even benign entities, as well as gray areas for which viral association is emerging, controversial, or poorly characterized. We will use a predominantly case-based approach to provide a comprehensive review of HPV in a variety of head and neck lesions. An overview of HPV-related carcinoma and HPV testing methods (advantages and disadvantages of each) will precede the case presentations. Eight cases (to include benign and malignant entities and disease presenting in primary tumors and metastases) will emphasize the morphologic features of the HPV-related lesions and their differential diagnoses. We will also discuss for each case whether and why HPV detection is important, when it should be applied in daily practice, and how it should be performed (i.e., the best testing methods) and reported. The newly released College of American Pathologists (CAP) recommendations for HPV testing in head and neck carcinomas and the new 8th Edition AJCC staging system for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers will be incorporated into the discussion.

This course is designed for general surgical pathologists and pathologists-in-training. Virtual slides, along with clinical histories, will be posted to the USCAP website for preview by registrants prior to the meeting. A brief syllabus summarizing the different HPV testing methods, reviewing the diagnostic features and differential diagnosis of each case and recommendations for HPV testing will be posted on the USCAP website prior to the meeting along with a comprehensive list of references and, finally, a recommendation cheat sheet to be utilized at the microscope by participants after the course.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this educational activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Recognize common tumor morphology of HPV-related OPSCC and other HPV-related head and neck lesions
  • Decide when HPV testing is indicated for diagnosis and/or patient care
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of the available HPV testing methods
  • Select the best HPV testing algorithm for a particular clinical scenario or tumor type.


Continuing Medical Education and Maintenance of Certification

The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The USCAP is approved by the American Board of Pathology (ABP) to offer Self-Assessment credits (SAMs) for the purpose of meeting the ABP requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Physicians must take and pass the post-test in order to claim SAMs credit.

Physicians can earn a maximum of 3 SAM credit hours.


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