Human Papilloma Virus Tied to Oral CancerDavid Douglas, Reuters Health; Abstinence Clearinghouse
New York -- Human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus associated with cervical cancer, also appears to be involved in cancer of the mouth and oropharynx (the part of the throat that includes the lower part of the tongue and the tonsils), research suggests.
Study author Dr. Rolando Herrero of the Costa Rican Foundation for Health Sciences, San Jose, told Reuters Health that its possible that "HPV vaccines currently under development could be effective at preventing HPV-related oral cancer."
The study included 1415 patients with cancer of the mouth, 255 with cancer of the oropharynx, and 1732 cancer-free controls.
HPV DNA was found in tissue samples of close to 4 percent of cancers of the mouth and 18 percent of cancers of the oropharynx. Such findings were more common in subjects who reported having more than one sexual partner or who practiced oral sex. HPV can be sexually transmitted.
Overall, DNA for HPV 16, the most common HPV in genital tumors, was found in roughly 94 percent of HPV DNA-positive cancer patients.
The presence of antibodies against HPV 16 L1, E6, or E7 was associated with a significant increased risk of cancers of the mouth and the oropharynx.
These findings suggest to the researchers that HPV appears to play a role in the development of many cancers of the oropharynx and possibly a small subgroup of cancers of the mouth. The study appears in the December 3rd issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute, December 2, 2003
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