Link between HPV and lung cancer

accreditation
iStock

Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that can cause cervical and head and neck cancers, may also trigger some cases of lung cancer, according to a small new study.

Researchers examined 36 tumour tissue samples from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who had never smoked. Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, but the causes of lung cancer in nonsmokers can be difficult to pinpoint.

The investigators found that about 6% of the tissue samples showed signs of infection from two strains of HPV known to cause cancer. The strains are called HPV 16 and HPV 18.

Further examination of the tissue samples infected with HPV 16 revealed that the virus had integrated into the tumour's DNA, which the researchers said provides stronger evidence that HPV infection caused the tumour.

HPV may play role in lung cancer

The study was scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in Washington, DC. Study data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

If it is confirmed that HPV plays a role in some cases of lung cancer, the next step is to learn more about those tumours so they can be treated more effectively, said the researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. This study, however, did not prove a cause-and-effect link between the virus and lung cancer.

Lung cancer kills more than 1 million people a year. About 10% of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers.

"Given how many patients develop lung cancer, if even a small percentage of those tumours stem from HPV, that ends up being a large number of patients," study author Dr Ranee Mehra, an attending physician in medical oncology at Fox Chase, said in a center news release.

More information

The US National Cancer Institute has more about lung cancer.

(Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 2472 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
52% - 12639 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 8156 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 810 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.87
-1.3%
Rand - Pound
20.13
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.02
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.67
-1.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.6%
Gold
1,759.58
-0.1%
Silver
19.57
-1.2%
Palladium
2,160.71
+0.8%
Platinum
915.51
-1.5%
Brent Crude
93.65
+1.4%
Top 40
64,184
+0.0%
All Share
71,011
+0.1%
Resource 10
63,890
+1.0%
Industrial 25
86,864
-0.7%
Financial 15
16,201
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE