A Study to Identify Biomarkers in the Blood, Saliva or Tissue for Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Cancer


About this study

The purpose of this study is to identify a biomarker (or biomarkers) that is present when disease is present (i.e., at diagnosis or recurrence) and not present when disease is absent (i.e., after treatment, in HPV negative patients or in normal controls).

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age ≥ 18 years.
  • Able to provide written consent.
  • All patients must undergo p16 staining on biopsy for enrollment.
  • All patients must undergo HPV16 family ISH and/or RNA on biopsy or surgical specimen, unless amount of tissue is too small to have conclusive HPV ISH testing done on it.
  • Patients with < 70% of tumor cells positive for p16 will be considered p16 negative
  • Patient has given permission to give his/her tumor/tissue/blood/saliva sample for research testing.
  • Clinical diagnosis of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma or clinical diagnosis of HPV negative oral cavity cancer, to be enrolled for subgroup 1D.
  • Ability to complete questionnaire(s) by themselves or with assistance.
  • Willingness and intent to return in person to enrolling institution for follow-up (during the Active Monitoring Phase of the study) for at least 2 of the standard follow-up time points for a total of 3 time-points including pre-treatment. A participant who does not return in person to Mayo Clinic Rochester for every standard of care post-treatment follow up will not be considered deviating from the protocol. 

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Receiving any other investigational agent which would be considered as a treatment for the primary neoplasm. Patients enrolled in DART are eligible.
  • Other active malignancy ≤ 5 years prior to registration.
  • Exceptions:  Non-melanotic skin cancer, non-metastatic thyroid cancer, non-metastatic prostate cancer, carcinoma-in-situ of the cervix.
    • Note:  If there is a history or prior malignancy, they must not be receiving other specific treatment for their cancer.

Eligibility last updated 6/3/22. Questions regarding updates should be directed to the study team contact.


Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Kathryn Van Abel, M.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Cancer Center Clinical Trials Referral Office

(855) 776-0015

More information


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