HPV link to 3rd of throat cancers

HPV virus ‘linked to 3rd of throat cancer cases’

There are greater than 100 forms of HPV

One third of folks diagnosed with throat cancer are infected with a sort of the HPV virus, a study suggests.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is the foremost reason for cervical cancer, and the virus is thought to spread through genital or oral contact.

Actor Michael Douglas is reported to have spoken concerning the link after his own diagnosis with throat cancer.

Experts said this study inside the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which quantifies the link, showed “striking” results.

There are greater than 100 kinds of HPV. Many people be infected with HPV sooner or later, but in most the immune system will offer protection.

There are two HPV strains that are probably to cause cancer – HPV-16 and HPV-18.

HPV-16 is understood to be accountable for around 60% of cervical cancers, 80% of cancers within the anus and 60% of oral cancers.

Around 1,500 persons are diagnosed with throat cancers per annum within the UK, with around 470 people dying from the disease.

Survival benefit

This study checked out HPV’s link with cancer of the back of the throat – oropharyngeal cancer.

It checked out blood test results collected from people that took part in an enormous prospective study into lifestyle and cancer, who were all healthy firstly.

Everyone gives a blood sample after they join the study, and subsequently the researchers were capable of check for the presence of antibodies to at least one of HPV’s key proteins – E6.

E6 knocks out portion of cells’ protection system, which should prevent cancer developing.

Having the antibodies means HPV has already overcome that defence and caused cancerous changes in cells.

The researchers compared blood test results – some greater than 10 years old – for 135 those who went directly to develop throat cancer and for 1,599 cancer-free people.

The University of Oxford team found 35% of these with throat cancer had the antibodies, compared with fewer than 1% of these who were cancer-free.

However, these patients were likely to survive throat cancer than people whose disease had other causes, comparable to alcohol or tobacco use.

The study found 84% of folk with the antibodies were still alive five years after diagnosis, compared with 58% of these without.

Broader effect?

Dr Ruth Travis, a Cancer Research UK scientist at Oxford who worked at the study, said: “These striking results provide some evidence that HPV-16 infection could be a significant reason for oropharyngeal cancer.”

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: “HPV is a particularly common virus.

“Practising safer sex may reduce the chance of having or passing on HPV, but condoms won’t stop infections completely.”

She added: “If the HPV vaccine may also protect against oral HPV infections and cancers, then it could actually have a broader potential protective effect, but we do not have enough research yet to inform us. “