Rebecca Lucas-Roxburgh

Doctor of Philosophy, (Health Science)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Human papillomavirus (HPV) associated oropharyngeal cancer: Case prevalence, diagnosis, and the potential for screening in New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) positive oropharyngeal cancer has increased in many developed countries. In New Zealand, the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer almost quadrupled between 1996 and 2012 but the role of HPV was uncertain. Ms Lucas-Roxburgh determined HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer has a significant burden on the New Zealand health system with almost 90% of cases now being attributed to HPV, up from 62% in the 1990s. She also assessed risk factors and found an HPV positive patient was likely to be younger, and ever giving oral sex was a major risk factor. Using a new method of sampling tumours, she found cellular changes suggestive of precancerous lesions. Her research findings support the vaccination of males with Gardasil 9, and the need for earlier detection and improved diagnostic methods for better patient outcomes.

Associate Professor Laryssa Howe
Dr Bruce Lockett
Professor Jackie Benschop