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HPV-positive Oropharyngeal Cancer- AHCC

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HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer now dominates the head and neck oncology landscape, and its escalating incidence is impacting on diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic practices

Human papillomavirus (HPV) increases the risk of many cancers including, according to the studies below,  oropharyngeal cancer (OPC), a type of head and neck cancer.

Anatomy of the Oropharynx pics

If you have been diagnosed with head and neck cancer your oncologist will recommend those therapies that should give you the best chances of overall survival. What he or she may not talk about is if you have Human papillomavirus, if HPV caused your cancer in the first place and if clearing your Human papillomavirus may reduce your risk of head and neck cancer relapse.

I mention all the above because I developed a blood cancer called multiple myeloma while at the same time having HPV. While I will never know if HPV caused my multiple myeloma I do know that HPV increases the risk of MM.

I supplemented with AHCC for several months in 2010 and have cleared my HPV. I have remained in complete remission from MM, a supposedly “incurable” form of blood cancer, since I achieved complete remission in early 1999.

I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. I follow an evidence-based, non-toxic lifestyle including anti-cancer nutrition, supplementation, bone health, mind-body and lifestyle therapies.

To Learn More about HPV and Cancer, click now

Have you been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer? Have you been diagnosed with HPV? Please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV

“A Japanese mushroom extract appears to be effective for the eradication of human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a pilot clinical trial. Ten HPV-positive women were treated orally with the extract, AHCC (active hexose correlated compound) once daily for up to six months. Five achieved a negative HPV test result — three with confirmed eradication after stopping AHCC — with the remaining two responders continuing on the study…”

HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer

Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) also known as HPV16+ oropharyngeal cancer or HPV+ OPC is a recognized subtype of Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC),[1][2][3] associated with the HPV type 16 virus.”


“Tumor HPV status is strongly associated with positive therapeutic response and survival compared with HPV-negative OPC.[38][39][40] A possible explanation is “the lower probability of occurrence of 11q13 gene amplification, which is considered to be a factor underlying faster and more frequent recurrence of the disease”[6] Presence of TP53 mutations, a marker for HPV- OPC, is associated with worse prognosis.[4]

High grade of p16 staining is thought to be better than HPV PCR analysis in predicting radiotherapy response.[24]

The Changing Face of Head and Neck Cancer in the 21st Century: The Impact of HPV on the Epidemiology and Pathology of Oral Cancer

“The longstanding notion that head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a uniform disease process is changing. Divergence in epidemiologic trends among HNSCCs arising in different anatomic subsites has introduced a view that HNSCC is a heterogeneous group. Analysis of molecular genetic changes discloses not just individual tumor differences, but also consistent large-scale differences that permit the recognition of important tumor subtypes. One recently recognized subtype is the human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer now dominates the head and neck oncology landscape, and its escalating incidence is impacting on diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic practices…

HPV, particulary type 16, is detected in about 70% of oropharyngeal carcinomas. These HPV-positive cancers are increasingly recognized as a distinct subgroup of HNSCC with a biological and clinical profile that diverges from that of their HPV-negative counterparts..

Conclusion- Incident trends for HNSCC have generally paralleled smoking trends. The escalating incidence of oropharyngeal carcinoma in the absence of a parallel rise in smoking and alcohol consumption suggests that nontraditional behavioral and environmental factors are driving this aberration. HPV, particularly type 16, has been established as a causative agent in up to 70% of oropharyngeal cancers. These HPV-positive HNSCCs differ in important respects from HPV-negative HNSCC including risk factors, molecular genetic alterations, microscopic appearance, and clinical behavior. Diagnostic pathologists are now faced with the challenge of accurately discerning HPV status of oropharyngeal cancers.

Leave a Comment:

Brian says last year

Hi, David.

I was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in December. It is stage 2 and spread to my lymph node. It is suspected to be HPV-related, but the biopsy could not confirm it.

I’ve been taking AHCC and fermented wheat germ for about a month. I’m scheduled for chemo and radiation, starting this Monday. I’m going to stop the wheat germ, due to a concern about it messing with my estrogen. Note that I’m not a medical professional and my doctors, one of which is renowned in oncology, all seem clueless about both FWG and AHCC, so I’m pretty much on my own.

I know AHCC has some interaction with some specific chemo, so I’m going to try to ascertain if that’s a problem Monday morning, but was wondering if you are still cancer- and HPV free after all this time, and if you have any advice regarding how I should proceed with the supplements?


    David Emerson says last year

    Hi Brian-

    I am sorry to read of your tonsil cancer. At stage 2, loco regional, I think your prognosis should be pretty good.

    Your doctors have never been educated in any therapy that is not FDA approved. Nothing against conventional medicine, just the war the FDA does things in the US.

    Yes, I continue to be cancer-free aka complete remission. My HPV status is more difficult to assess as I have not had any testing for this since my original cancer diagnosis. No warts of any kind though this metric is less than scientific.

    Regarding local radiation therapy to your mouth area- Consider supplementing both with curcumin as well as resveratrol. Both supplements are accessible on amazon (I buy Life Extension Foundation brand for each)


    Also, you will probably sustain radiation fibrosis aka scarring. I encourage you to undergo both hyperbaric oxygen therapy to heal this damage as well as acupuncture to prevent xerostomia aka dry mouth.

    Conventional oncology and I disagree on all forms of supplementation during chemotherapy and radiation. The safest way to proceed is to stop all supplementation the day before therapy and begin again once therapy ends.

    Let me know if you have any questions and good luck,

    David Emerson

      Brian says last year

      David, thank you so much for your response. My apology for the delayed follow-up.

      You and Conventional oncology may not disagree as much as you think–they also want me to stay off all supplements while on treatment. The biggest fear seems to be that supplements may interfere with chemo due to the supplements being an antioxidant. I’ve cut out wheat germ but have been taking a little AHCC because I feel like it helps a little with the chemo side-effects. Maybe I’ll cut it out as well, just “to be safe” as my radiation doctor’s nurse says.

      I’m going to check out your other suggestions as well. Thank you. I appreciate you!

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A Mason says 3 years ago

Just diagnosed with recurrence of OPSSC HPV+. Wondering how you know if you’ve cleared the virus? Is there a test?

    David Emerson says 3 years ago

    Hi A Mason-

    I know of tests only for my cancer, multiple myeloma. I would think there is a test for you as well but ask your oncologist.

    David Emerson

Neil says 4 years ago

I’ve recently been diagnosed with HPV 16 laryngeal tongue and throat cancer. I’m a man of 67 and are about to start Chemo/Radiation therapy. Should I be taking AHCC and what dosage or combination of supplements do you recommend and is one brand better than another? Thank you.

    David Emerson says 4 years ago

    Hi Neil-

    The study linked in the blog post that you read indicates that the HPV virus can be cleared with AHCC. I would discuss taking AHCC with your oncologist. Though my cancer is different from yours, I did have HPV, I did take AHCC (Now brand) and I believe I have cleared the virus from my system. You have to think through this therapy with your oncologist. I took the dose listed on the bottle.

    I have not studied your cancer but I believe there are other nutritional supplements, such as curcumin, resveratrol, omega-3 fatty acids) that can help your prognosis. Again, you have to discuss your therapy plan with your oncologist.

    Let me know is you have any other questions.


    David Emerson

Grape Seed Extract Kills Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer - PeopleBeatingCancer says 5 years ago

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Rachael says 5 years ago

Hi Brett
I recently discovered a small growth on my left tonsil, which has been diagnosed as a papilloma. I do not know if it is HPV for sure or the type, but I am obviously concerned about the future of this, especially as it has grown a little in the last 6 months. Do you have any experience of AHCC clearing such papillomas?

    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Rachael,

    If I understand your questions, you are concerned about the following issues- 1) was my papilloma caused by the HumanPapillomaVirus (HPV) virus, 2)is my papilloma cancerous and 3) will AHCC supplementation clear my papilloma? I will link and excerpt an article about papilloma below in an effort to address your questions/concerns.

    While the article linked below explains that “most papilloma are caused by HPV,” it does not address the issue of possible therapies other than “treating” the growth. As you read from the post you came in on, I have supplemented with AHCC and I believe I have cleared the virus.

    Please read the excerpts below and let me know if you have any questions.


    David Emerson

    Should I worry about a papilloma?

    Papillomas are noncancerous, outward-growing lumps that might cause problems in some locations. They do not spread and are not aggressive.
    However, be sure to receive a clinical opinion on any lump or skin lesion. If a lump turns out to be a more severe type of lump, it is important to intervene early.

    Another reason for getting medical attention is that papillomas can cause complications or discomfort, and sometimes require additional treatment even though these problems are likely to be neither cancerous nor life-threatening.

    “While papillomas are not, by themselves, cancerous, they are linked with a higher risk of cancer. Women who have received treatment for multiple breast papilloma, for example, might be monitored just in case cancer also occurs…

    Papillomas are benign growths. This means that they do not grow aggressively and they do not spread around the body.

    The growths only form in certain types of tissue, although these tissues occur all over the body. Papillomas are often known as warts and verrucae when they reach the skin. They can also form in the surface of the moist tissues lining the insides of the body, such as in the gut or airway

    A diagnosis of benign papilloma means that the lump presents no cause for concern.

    However, a person might still want to address or treat a papilloma, as they can cause pain, irritation, and concerns about appearance…

    Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most papillomas.

    For some papillomas though, HPV is not the main cause. One example is an inverted papilloma of the urinary tract, which research has linked to smoking and other potential causes.

    For papillomas of the skin, where HPV is known to be the cause, skin damage can promote the development of a papilloma. Scratching at or picking a wart can also lead to further infection. However, the growth itself cannot spread to another location.

    While there are links between HPV and cancer, especially cervical cancer, researchers believe that it takes between 10 and 30 years for HPV to develop into a malignant condition. Less than 50 percent of precancerous cervical lesions from HPV make the transition…

    When a papilloma or group of papillomas grow in the larynx, it can obstruct the process of breathing. This causes a rare condition known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, which occurs mostly in children.

    Symptoms include hoarseness, a quiet or weak cry, and airway obstruction, in severe instances.

    This can also return after treatment or transform into a malignant tumor. Because of this, it might become necessary to treat recurrent respiratory papillomatosis multiple times…

    Doctors can treat warts on the skin using the following methods:

    cautery, which involves burning off the tissue and then scraping it away using curettage
    excision, in which a doctor surgically removes the papilloma
    laser surgery, a procedure that destroys the wart using high-energy light from a laser
    cryotherapy, or freezing off the tissue
    applying liquid nitrogen onto warts or injecting them into the papilloma
    Drugs applied to papilloma tissue on the skin are also used to destroy warts. Examples include:

    Doctors might prescribe others, depending on the type of wart.

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John grappone says 5 years ago

Had 3recurrence o hover 16 tongue cancer. Will abcc be of help to me?

    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi John,

    AHCC may help you if your tongue cancer was HPV positive.

    David Emerson

Brett says 9 years ago

Hi, I have recently finished treatment for HP16+ H&N cancer, all very positive so far. But, I am trying to get more information about the cause. Understand that oral sex could well be a significant factor, but can’t find out anything more about the future.
I am trying to find out whether I need to change behaviours – in particular, no longer indulge in oral sex.
But, I have also read that the cancer may take up to 15 years to develope – this would take it back to the time of my first wife, who died of cancer in 2007. She had cervical cancer in about 2003, and I wonder if this would have any impact.
I wonder if there is anywhere I can find out this sort of information. The oncology department have done a brilliant job in clearing up the cancer – heading for 6 months clear – but it is hard to find out more information about the future, or past causes. Especially when discussing oral sex!!
Hoping someone can help me with this. Who/where should I ask?

    David Emerson says 9 years ago

    Hi Brett-
    I am sorry to read about your cancer diagnosis but you sound very positive about your diagnosis and treatment.
    Let me first confirm. You are talking about”P16 positive, HPV positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma?”

    You are correct in wondering if your wife’s cancer was HPV related as well. While there is no way to tell at this point there is a strong link between HPV and cervical cancers. My understanding of oncology is that HPV’s impact on cancer was not well understood in 2003.

    To learn more you could search “cervical cancer, HPV.” There are lots of articles and studies.

    As for your question ” but it is hard to find out more information about the future, or past causes. Especially when discussing oral sex!! Hoping someone can help me with this. Who/where should I ask?” You are correct, oncology does not study much about therapies to remain in remission. My experience is to consider AHCC- please read the link below-

    Mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV

    “Currently, there is no effective medicine or supplement to treat HPV, which is associated with more than 99 percent of cervical cancer cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several other cancers are related to HPV, including 95 percent of anal cancer, 60 percent of oropharyngeal, 65 percent of vaginal cancer, 50 percent of vulvar cancer and 35 percent of penile cancer.

    AHCC is a readily available nutritional supplement that works to improve the innate immune system. Human and preclinical studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and/or activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells and cytokines, which help the body fight off infections and block tumor growth….”

    p16 positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma:an entity with a favorable prognosis regardless of tumor HPV status.

    Outcomes for p16 positive, HPV negative oropharyngeal SCC are not significantly different from p16 positive, HPV positive tumors and are significantly better than for p16 negative tumors. These results suggest that p16 immunohistochemistry alone is the best test to use for risk stratification in oropharyngeal SCC.”


    David Emerson

      Brett says 9 years ago

      Hello David,
      Thanks for that! Yes, that is what I am have been diagnosed with. It actually takes a bit to get to that conclusion, because the various terms were never used in conjunction. The SSC came up after the first biopsy, oropharyngeal was only mentioned in the one of the last emails I had with the oncologist (it had always been referred to as Head and Neck Cancer, guess they try to make it a little more accessible for the layman) and I just happened to hear one of the registrars in the early days mention that the second biopsy had come up as HP16 positive – possibly HPV16, but I wasn’t sure.
      And yes, they are far more interested in the treatment. Which really doesn’t bother me, as they have done a great job, as I said, the three month check in November was clear, and still looking good now.
      I am getting the impression that for any understanding of this in terms of the future, it really is up to me to gather as much info as possible and put together my own plans. It seems that this is quite a young area, comparatively, and is yet to be organised as well as many other areas of oncology.
      Which is OK, really. I have a few months now of getting myself back into reasonable condition, and can use this time to research and understand as much as I can. Then shuffle it to the back of my mind and continue on!
      Had the PEG tube removed yesterday – a great way to finish the year!
      Thanks for your help.
      Cheers, Brett

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