NCI Definition: A squamous cell carcinoma arising from the oropharynx. It predominantly affects adults in their fifth and sixth decades of life and is associated with alcohol and tobacco use. Human papillomavirus is present in approximately half of the cases. It is characterized by a tendency to metastasize early to the lymph nodes. When the tumor is small, patients are often asymptomatic. Physical examination may reveal erythematous or white lesions or plaques. The majority of patients present with locally advanced disease. Signs and symptoms include mucosal ulceration, pain, bleeding, weight loss, neck swelling, and difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing. Patients may also present with swollen neck lymph nodes without any symptoms from the oropharyngeal tumor. The most significant prognostic factors are the size of the tumor and the lymph nodes status. [1]

Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas most frequently harbor alterations in TP53, PIK3CA, KMT2D, CDKN2A, and NOTCH1 [2].

Most Commonly Altered Genes in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

TP53 Mutation, PIK3CA Mutation, TP53 c.217-c.1178 Missense, TP53 Missense, and KMT2D Mutation are the most common alterations in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma [2].

Top Alterations in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Significant Genes in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

AKT1 +










Disease Details

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oropharyn, Epidermoid Carcinoma of the Oropharynx, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Oropharynx, Oropharyngeal Epidermoid Carcinoma, Epidermoid Carcinoma of Oropharynx, Oropharyngeal Throat Squamous Cell Cancer
Pharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Tonsillar Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Oropharyngeal Undifferentiated Carcinoma
OncoTree Name
Oropharynx Squamous Cell Carcinoma
OncoTree Code


1. National Cancer Institute. NCI Thesaurus Version 18.11d. https://ncit.nci.nih.gov/ncitbrowser/ [2018-08-28]. [2018-09-21].

2. The AACR Project GENIE Consortium. AACR Project GENIE: powering precision medicine through an international consortium. Cancer Discovery. 2017;7(8):818-831. Dataset Version 8. This dataset does not represent the totality of the genetic landscape; see paper for more information.

3. All assertions and clinical trial landscape data are curated from primary sources. You can read more about the curation process here.