Study Finds Incidence Of HPV-Related Cancers Rising
Lately, there has been an increase in the incidence of head and neck cancer associated with HPV infection. Also, studies show that this type of cancer is more common in men and middle-aged whites and that habits such as alcohol and smoking, influence the response to treatment.
The research were led by Lauren Cole, a public health graduate student, and Dr. Edward Peters, Associate Professor of Public Health and Director of the Epidemiology Program at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, and provide useful information on the epidemiology of cancer associated with HPV.
Most people infected with HPV, Human papillomavirus, are practically asymptomatic. There are still marking lesions with HPV infection, such as warts or condillomas, that is skin lesions. In some severe cases, HPV determine cell dysplasia and finally cancer. Localizations of cancers associated with HPV are predominantly external genitalia, such as cervix, vulva, vagina, penis but also the oropharynx or anus. Important to remember that HPV is spread by sexual contact and as soon as the virion infects the cell and infection is triggered, the person becomes a carrier and can pass on infection. However, it may happen that the infection will remain latent for months or even years before the actual occurrence of HPV cause squamous intraepithelial lesions. There is always the possibility that the person is infected but the infection is not clinically apparent. It is also important to remember that there are many strains of HPV and that particularly serotypes 16 and 18 are involved in cancers of the oropharynx.
Along with HPV infection, alcohol and smoking are also important risk factors in oropharyngeal cancer, researchers said. It is known that alcohol inhibits the production of protein p53, tumor suppressor gene, also called genome guardian. Carcinogens in cigarettes cause damage to the DNA, so cancer precursor lesions. Therefore, the combination of these three factors, HPV, alcohol and smoking, increase the occurrence of oropharyngeal cancer. In addition, studies show that this cancer is more common among white men of middle age. In contrast, men of black race (nonhispanic) are less likely to develop this type of cancer.
Lauren Cole, PhD Epidemiology student at year LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, points out that during 1995-2005 there was an increased incidence of this cancer among HPV-related localizations. According to the National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer represents 3% of all cancers in the U.S., and are more common among men than women.
The prognosis is usually reserved for oropharyngeal cancer. However, Dr. Edward Peters, Associate Professor and Director of the Epidemiology Program at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, believes that with the introduction of HPV vaccine the incidence of this type of cancer will decrease.