Lung Cancer Patients More Likely to Have High-Risk Human Papillomavirus
A new study finds that lung cancer patients were significantly more likely to have antibodies to several high-risk forms of human papillomavirus (HPV) than people without lung cancer. The research was presented at the recently concluded American Association for Cancer Research’s 102nd Annual Meeting in Orlando.
French scientists used serological tests to determine the presence of antibodies to several high- and low-risk HPV types among 1,633 lung cancer patients and 2,729 matched controls from six central European countries. Among those without lung cancer, prevalence of antibodies to high-risk HPV was less than 5 percent; testing for other HPV types also indicated low prevalence in this population. In lung cancer patients, antibodies to proteins in eight high-risk HPV types were significantly increased.
The association persisted regardless of gender and whether the patients were current smokers, former smokers or had never smoked. Previous research has shown some HPV strains can cause the benign lung condition respiratory papillomatosis.
“While a number of previous studies have demonstrated the presence of HPV in lung cancer, their statistical power has been limited by small average sample size and variations in methodology,” said Devasena Anantharaman, PhD, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.
“We know that HPV can reach the lung, but whether HPV can cause frank malignancies is a question we hope to answer,” Anantharaman said.
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