Head and Neck Cancer

Lead Contacts: Professor David Conway


Head and neck cancer epidemiology research is focused on socioeconomic inequalities and HPV. The research spans the head and neck cancer continuum from investigating the burden and risk factors to evaluating early detection/screening interventions, and assessing outcomes and survival. 


Translational Studies of Head and Neck Cancer in South America and Europe (HEADSpAcE) is a project funded by the European Union that started in January 2019. It brings together a consortium of 15 partner institutions with a long and successful record of collaboration in the study of head and neck cancer. The University of Glasgow is part of the HEADSpAcE consortium. 

The impact of HEADSpAcE will be to elucidate reasons for late diagnosis and reduce the proportion of head and neck cancers that are diagnosed at a very late stage. The project aims to identify the most appropriate method of diagnosing cancer caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), and to provide genomic evidence of strong predictors of prognosis that will have the potential to improve care and reduce treatment-related morbidity. 

Key Publications

Conway, D. I. et al. (2021) Occupational socioeconomic risk associations for head and neck cancer in Europe and South America: individual participant data analysis of pooled case-control studies within the INHANCE consortium. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health(doi: 10.1136/jech-2020-214913) (PMID:33622804) (Early Online Publication)

Lee, J. G.L.Cristello, J. V.Buckton, C. H. Carey, R. N.Trucco, E. M.Schenk, P. M.Ikegwuonu, T.Hilton, S. Golden, S. D. and Conway, D. I. (2021) Message framing to inform cancer prevention pricing interventions in the UK and USA: a factorial experiment, 2019. BMJ Open, 11(1), e041324. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041324)

Ingarfield, K. et al. (2021) Inequality in survival of people with head and neck cancer: Head and Neck 5000 cohort study. Head and Neck(doi: 10.1002/hed.26589) (Early Online Publication)

Di Credico, G. et al. (2020) Alcohol drinking and head and neck cancer risk: the joint effect of intensity and duration. British Journal of Cancer, 123(9), pp. 1456-1463. (doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-01031-z) (PMID:32830199)

Kelwaip, R. A.Fose, S.Siddiqui, M. S.Molumi, C. P.Apaio, L. M.Conway, D. I. Johnson, N. W.Thomas, S. J.Lambert, D. W. and Hunter, K. D. (2020) Oral cancer in Papua New Guinea: looking back and looking forward. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, 130(3), pp. 292-297. (doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2020.06.010) (PMID:32665206)

Bravi, F. et al. (2021) Lessons learned from the INHANCE consortium: An overview of recent results on head and neck cancer. Oral Diseases, 27(1), pp. 73-93. (doi: 10.1111/odi.13502) (PMID:32569410)

Khetan, P. et al. (2019) Occupations and the risk of head and neck cancer: a pooled analysis of the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) consortium. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61(5), pp. 397-404. (doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001563) (PMID:31268937) (PMCID:PMC6613803)

Wakeham, K. et al. (2019) A prospective cohort study of human papillomavirus-driven oropharyngeal cancers: implications for prognosis and immunisation. Clinical Oncology, 31(9), e132-e142. (doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2019.05.010) (PMID:31248692)

Ingarfield, K.McMahon, A. D. Douglas, C. M.Savage, S.-A.Mackenzie, K. and Conway, D. I. (2019) Inequality in the survival of patients with head and neck cancer in Scotland. Frontiers in Oncology, 8, 673. (doi: 10.3389/fonc.2018.00673) (PMID:30723696) (PMCID:PMC6349751)

Ingarfield, K.McMahon, A. D. Douglas, C. M.Savage, S.-A.Conway, D. I. and MacKenzie, K. (2019) Determinants of long-term survival in a population-based cohort study of patients with head and neck cancer from Scotland. Head and Neck, 41(6), pp. 1908-1917. (doi: 10.1002/hed.25630) (PMID:30620423)

Conway, D.I. Purkayastha, M. and Chestnutt, I.G. (2018) The changing epidemiology of oral cancer: definitions, trends, and risk factors. British Dental Journal, 225(9), pp. 867-873. (doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.922) (PMID:30412558)

Vaccarella, S. et al. (2018) Reducing social inequalities in cancer: setting priorities for research. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 68(5), pp. 324-326. (doi: 10.3322/caac.21463) (PMID:30152865)

Purkayastha, M.McMahon, A. Gibson, J. and Conway, D.I. (2018) Is detecting oral cancer in general dental practices a realistic expectation? A population-based study using population linked data in Scotland. British Dental Journal, 225, pp. 241-246. (doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.544) (PMID:30095121)

Abrahão, R. et al. (2018) The influence of smoking, age and stage at diagnosis on the survival after larynx, hypopharynx and oral cavity cancers in Europe: the ARCAGE study. International Journal of Cancer, 143(1), pp. 32-44. (doi: 10.1002/ijc.31294) (PMID:29405297)

Anantharaman, D. et al. (2017) Geographic heterogeneity in the prevalence of human papillomavirus in head and neck cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 140(9), pp. 1968-1975. (doi: 10.1002/ijc.30608) (PMID:28108990)

Conway, D. I. et al. (2016) Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Oral Prevalence in Scotland (HOPSCOTCH): a feasibility study in dental settings. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0165847. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165847) (PMID:27861508) (PMCID:PMC5115665)

Lesseur, C. et al. (2016) Genome-wide association analyses identify new susceptibility loci for oral cavity and pharyngeal cancer. Nature Genetics, 48(12), pp. 1544-1550. (doi: 10.1038/ng.3685) (PMID:27749845) (PMCID:PMC5131845)

Purkayastha, M.McMahon, A. D. Gibson, J. and Conway, D. I. (2016) Trends of oral cavity, oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer incidence in Scotland (1975 - 2012) - a socioeconomic perspective. Oral Oncology, 61, pp. 70-75. (doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2016.08.015)

Arnold, M.Rentería, E.Conway, D. I. Bray, F.Van Ourti, T. and Soerjomataram, I. (2016) Inequalities in cancer incidence and mortality across medium to highly developed countries in the twenty-first century. Cancer Causes and Control, 27(8), pp. 999-1007. (doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0777-7) (PMID:27329211)

Anantharaman, D. et al. (2016) Combined effects of smoking and HPV16 in oropharyngeal cancer. International Journal of Epidemiology, 45(3), pp. 752-761. (doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw069) (PMID:27197530)

Delahaye-Sourdeix, M. et al. (2015) A rare truncating BRCA2 variant and genetic susceptibility to upper aerodigestive tract cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 107(5), djv037. (doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv037) (PMID:25838448) (PMCID:PMC4822523)

Conway, D. I. et al. (2015) Estimating and explaining the effect of education and income on head and neck cancer risk: INHANCE consortium pooled analysis of 31 case-control studies from 27 countries. International Journal of Cancer, 136(5), pp. 1125-1139. (doi: 10.1002/ijc.29063) (PMID:24996155) (PMCID:PMC4531373)

Ahrens, W. et al. (2014) Oral health, dental care and mouthwash associated with upper aerodigestive tract cancer risk in Europe: the ARCAGE study. Oral Oncology, 50(6), pp. 616-625. (doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2014.03.001)

Sharpe, K. H.McMahon, A. D. Raab, G. M.Brewster, D. H. and Conway, D. I. (2014) Association between socioeconomic factors and cancer risk: a population cohort study in Scotland (1991-2006). PLoS ONE, 9(2), e89513. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089513) (PMID:24586838) (PMCID:PMC3937337)

Vaccarella, S.Lortet-Tieulent, J.Saracci, R.Conway, D. I. Straif, K. and Wild, C. P. (Eds.) (2019) Reducing Social Inequalities in Cancer: Evidence and Priorities for Research. Series: IARC scientific publication. International Agency for Research on Cancer: Geneva. ISBN 9789283222224