Saturday, 1 December 2012

HPV linked to five fold higher risk of throat cancers

HPV is linked to many head and neck cancers
 A study by Beijing researchers has linked human papillomavirus (HPV) to a five times greater risk of laryngeal.
Researchers led by Dr. Xiangwei Li, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking University Medical College in Beijing, analyzed 12 studies that compared cancerous and non-cancerous tissues from a total of 638 patients. They found the cancerous throat tissue had 5.4 times the odds of testing positive for HPV infection, compared to non-cancerous tissue.
The analysis was published last week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Other researchers said that of all head and neck cancers, HPV seems to play the biggest role not in laryngeal cancer, but in cancer of the tonsils and back of the tongue.
However, they added, "the exposure is probably decades earlier. Someone who develops a base of tongue cancer when they're 50, they probably were exposed to the virus years before, in their teens or 20s."
At least half of sexually-active people get HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the virus is usually cleared by the immune system. Only some of the 40-plus HPV strains have been tied to cancer.
Based on the current findings, it's difficult to know how many of the laryngeal cancers in the original studies were actually caused by the virus, researchers said.
But Mendenhall said extending HPV vaccination to boys and young men, as the CDC has recommended, "will hopefully reduce at least some of these HPV-related cancers."
Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases

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