Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a disease of significant morbidity among children and adults. Surgical removal of this aggressive neoplasm remains the mainstay of therapy, but the expense, scarring, and psychological trauma associated with repeated procedures have prompted intensive study of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of the disease and a search for alternative modes of therapy. Results from recent investigations into the incidence, mode of transmission, and molecular biology of RRP bode well for its control in the future. In the interim, researchers continue to explore potential adjuvant treatments, including photodynamic therapy, retinoids, ribavirin, acyclovir, and indole-3-carbinol. This paper discusses the biologic behavior of RRP, and the implications of recent advances in RRP research.
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