Exploring the link between HPV infection and head and neck cancers

Source: www.targetedonc.com Author: Jordyn Sava In an interview with Targeted Oncology for Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, Noel Laudi, MD, MRCP, discussed the link between human papillomavirus infection and head and neck cancers. There is a complex relationship that exists between human papillomavirus (HPV) and head and neck cancers. According to Noel Laudi, MD, MRCP, “no one is immune to HPV-related head and neck cancers, with certain demographics at higher risk.” Common areas of occurrence for HPV-related head and neck cancer are in the mouth, including tonsils, soft palate, oropharynx, and base of tongue. HPV can cause cancer by staying in the system for 1 to 3 years and affecting lymphatic tissue in fertile areas of the mouth. HPV-related head and neck cancers often present late due to silent growth. Those at a higher risk of developing HPV-related head and neck cancer include those with more sexual partners and those exposed to oral sex. Additionally, smoking increases the risk of cancer for those with HPV, creating a double risk with the virus and smoke. Laudi, of Allina Health Cancer Institute, emphasized that the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing these cancers, with the ideal age for vaccination being around 11 to 13 years old. However, there is an unmet need for better screening methods and higher vaccination rates of children to prevent HPV-related cancers. “I think the vaccine has been a huge move in the right direction. The treatment is very tough, and if we can prevent the cancer [...]

Throat cancer is becoming an epidemic, and sex could be why

Source: www.sciencealert.com Author: Hisham Mehanna, Professor, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham Over the past two decades, there has been a rapid increase in throat cancer in the west, to the extent that some have called it an epidemic. This has been due to a large rise in a specific type of throat cancer called oropharyngeal cancer (the area of the tonsils and back of the throat). The main cause of this cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which are also the main cause of cancer of the cervix. Oropharyngeal cancer has now become more common than cervical cancer in the US and the UK. HPV is sexually transmitted. For oropharyngeal cancer, the main risk factor is the number of lifetime sexual partners, especially oral sex. Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex. Behavioral trends studies show that oral sex is very prevalent in some countries. In a study that my colleagues and I conducted in almost 1,000 people having tonsillectomy for non-cancer reasons in the UK, 80 percent of adults reported practicing oral sex at some point in their lives. Yet, mercifully, only a small number of those people develop oropharyngeal cancer. Why that is, is not clear. The prevailing theory is that most of us catch HPV infections and are able to clear them completely. However, a small number of people are not able to get rid [...]

2023-09-15T06:24:29-07:00September, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Early findings suggest clinical and lab-based approach critical to tracking head and neck cancer recurrence

Source: medicalxpress.com Author: Anna Megdell, University of Michigan Early findings of two studies from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center shed light on new ways to anticipate recurrence in HPV-positive head and neck cancer sooner. The papers, published in Cancer and Oral Oncology, offer clinical and technological perspectives on how to measure if recurrence is happening earlier than current blood tests allow, and provide a framework for a new, more sensitive blood test that could help in this monitoring. "When metastatic head and neck cancer returns, it impacts their quality of life and can be disfiguring, interfering with the ability to talk, swallow, and even breathe," said Paul Swiecicki, M.D., associate medical director for the Oncology Clinical Trials Support Unit at Rogel. "As of now, there's no test to monitor for its recurrence except watching for symptoms or potentially using a blood test which may not detect cancer until shortly before it clinically recurs." The paper in Cancer aims to identify different clinical ways that providers can more strategically track for recurrence. To do this, Swiecicki and his team needed to first understand what patient population was at the highest risk to then figure out an appropriate monitoring pattern. The team examined 450 patients with metastatic head and neck cancer, including people with HPV-positive and HPV-negative cancer. HPV-positive cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus and is increasingly more common in head and neck cancer patients. The team identified some predictors of when recurrences would happen, and to what [...]

2023-09-08T05:39:02-07:00September, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Doctors couldn’t operate on my tumour, but this robot did — and it may have saved my life

Source: www.cbc.ca Author: Glenn Deir This is a First Person column by author Glenn Deir, who lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. Glenn Deir has special thanks for the robot who operated on his tonsil cancer. Long before I had cancer, and long before I lived in Japan, the rock band Styx released a synthesizer-drenched song with the hook "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto." Forty years later I, too, found myself thanking a robot. Its name is da Vinci. Da Vinci resembles a giant spider with four arms, and my journey to lying beneath those arms began with a niggling problem: I was having discomfort swallowing. Even sipping water sometimes stung. A flexible scope up my nose and down my throat revealed an apparent ulcer on my tonsil, the right tonsil, my one remaining tonsil. But given my history, my doctor couldn't ignore it. Ah, my history. Sixteen years ago, I contracted cancer in the left tonsil thanks to the human papillomavirus. That's the same virus that causes cervical cancer. Most folks shed the HPV virus with no harm done, but I had crappy luck. The subsequent radiation had me retching into a toilet for weeks. I turned into an advocate for the HPV vaccine. The da Vinci robot operates on Glenn Deir. (Glenn Deir) "Sex gave me cancer," I used to say. "You don't want your little boy to grow up and go through what I went through." What I wanted to ask Dr. Boyd Lee was, "So, what's [...]

New classification method for HPV-associated head and neck cancers

Source: www.techexplorist.com Author: Vidya Nagalwade Over the past few decades, the number of cases of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) related to the human papillomavirus (HPV+) has risen significantly and is still rising. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been linked to an increase in cancer of the throat and tonsils, which is projected to become the most common form of head and neck cancer by 2030. Identifying the right patients with HPV-related cancers is a major challenge in reducing treatment intensity. A new study identifies a subclass of HPV+ head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). It shows that treatment depends on the tumor type. The data show two distinct subtypes of HPV+ HNSCC, each with its features and treatment responses. The researchers examined data from 104 HPV+ HNSCC tumors and two publically available sources to find gene expression patterns that might reliably distinguish distinct tumor types. Among the 22 modules tested, one accurately classified HPV+ HNSCC tumors based on a different gene expression pattern. The NFKB classifier accurately predicted a favorable result in patients treated in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group trial E1308, even with low-dosage radiation. Barbara Burtness, a Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said, “This discovery opens new opportunities for treatment personalization, as we can now better understand the distinct requirements for tumor development in each subclass.” The findings have significant clinical implications. Clinicians treating HPV+ HNSCC are constantly looking for biomarkers that can be used to determine treatment intensity. The new [...]

Smoking and HPV found to increase risk of head and neck cancer

Source: www.news-medical.net Author: Reviewed by Lily Ramsey, LLM Tobacco smoking and human papillomavirus (HPV) are both well-known risk factors for head and neck cancer, but there is ample evidence to show they can interact to increase still further the risk of contracting the disease, according to a study by scientists at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil and the University of Chile. An article on the study is published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. The results of the study clarify aspects of the molecular mechanisms involved in head and neck cancer, paving the way for novel strategies of prevention and treatment, or other interventions that could benefit patients. Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, tonsils, throat and thyroid. It affected some 830,000 people worldwide in 2020, causing the death of more than 50%. In Brazil it caused almost 21,000 deaths in 2019, according to the most recent data from the National Cancer Institute (INCA). Historically speaking, its main causes have been alcohol, tobacco and poor oral hygiene, but in recent decades HPV has become a significant risk factor, especially for younger people and relatively well-off patients. Head and neck cancer is now one of the fastest-rising types of cancer associated with HPV in the world. "Instead of continuing to analyze smoking and HPV as oncogenic factors separately, we set out to focus on their possible interaction." Enrique Boccardo, penultimate author of the article and professor in the Department [...]

Cancer experts warn about wave of HPV-related cancers in adults

Source: www.eurekalert.org Author: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Experts are concerned about rapidly rising rates of HPV-related throat and mouth cancers, noting that if this trend continues they could quickly be among the most common forms of cancer in adults between ages 45 and 65. Recent estimates suggest that middle throat cancer (known medically as oropharyngeal cancer) may become one of the top three cancers among middle-aged men in the United States by 2045, and the most common form of cancer among elderly men in the next 10 years. According to Matthew Old, MD, a head and neck surgeon at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), this rise of middle throat cancers in this age group is due to the direct impact of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection before modern vaccines were introduced in 2006. HPV is a large group of viruses spread through skin-to-skin and oral contact that occurs during sexual activity. The virus spreads easily, and an estimated 98% of the population has been exposed to it. HPV can remain dormant for decades. High-risk strains of the virus have long been linked to increased risk of cervical cancer; however, data from the past decade shows high-risk HPV is also strongly linked to cancers of the head and neck (mouth, base of tongue and throat). In 2006, Gardasil introduced an HPV vaccine, which is administered in youth between the ages of 9 and [...]

HPV vaccine: Some studies say one and done might be better

Source: www.cnn.com Author: Jen Christensen, CNN This week, at the World Health Organization’s 76th World Health Assembly, health leaders from nearly 100 countries will join with thousands of others who have signed off on a global initiative to eliminate cervical cancer. Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in women, according to WHO, but many cases are completely preventable with the human papillomavirus vaccine. HPV is a group of more than 200 related viruses. Many don’t cause any symptoms at all. Some strains cause warts, and some cause cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against the strains that cause most HPV-related cancers. “Vaccines are bringing the dream of eliminating cervical cancer within reach,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his remarks to the World Health Assembly on Monday. The vaccine is recommended for children because it works best before someone has been exposed to the virus. HPV is often spread through sexual contact, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that almost every sexually active person who is not vaccinated will get HPV at some point. The vaccine’s introduction to the US in 2006, along with more regular screening, has led to a notable drop in cervical cancer cases and deaths in the US, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cervical cancer rates among the first American generation to get vaccinated have dropped significantly. Among women ages 20 to 24, cervical cancer incidence rates declined 65% from 2012 through 2019, according [...]

California bill would mandate HPV vaccine for incoming college students

Source: www.cancerhealth.com Author: Rachel Scheier and KFF Health News When she was a college freshman, Joslyn Chaiprasert-Paguio was told by a doctor she had a common sexually transmitted infection called the human papillomavirus but not to worry. Four years later, a few days before her wedding, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which caused complications when she became pregnant. She had a hysterectomy eight years later, after the disease returned in 2021. The 38-year-old medical journal editor of Menifee in Riverside County, California, hadn’t been immunized as a teenager because there wasn’t yet a vaccine for HPV, which causes nearly all cervical cancers and a handful of other potentially lethal forms of the disease in men and women. Now, her 10-year-old daughter, Samantha, is scheduled to get her first shot this month. “This is the only vaccine that prevents cancer,” Chaiprasert-Paguio said. [Editor’s note: The hepatitis B vaccine prevents liver cancer.] A bill pending in the California legislature would require schools to notify parents that their kids are expected to be vaccinated for HPV before entering eighth grade, as part of a push to get more children inoculated against the cancer-causing strains of the virus, theoretically before they become sexually active. AB 659 stops short of mandating the vaccine for middle schoolers, as the bill originally proposed. Lawmakers stripped out that provision without any debate, reflecting the contentious nature of school vaccine mandates even in a state with some of the nation’s strictest immunization laws. “Now is a tough time [...]

5 major risk factors for head and neck cancers are within your control

Source: news.llu.edu Author: Lisa Aubry, Loma Linda University Health While head and neck cancers represent a broad category for numerous cancers, a set of five controllable risk factors contribute to most head and neck cancers, says Jared Inman, MD, a head and neck surgical oncologist at Loma Linda University Health. For April’s Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, Inman outlines how reducing these five risks in your life can help prevent head and neck cancers. Head and neck cancers, those cancers occurring above the shoulder bones not including brain cancers, occur in the voice box, throat, tongue, mouth, sinus, nose, ear, eyes, as well as other places. Squamous cell cancers are by far the most common types of head and neck cancers, says Inman, and can happen in any location of the head and neck. Therefore, the risk factors and Inman's prevention tips pertain especially to squamous cell cancers. TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL Tobacco, which includes secondhand smoke and smokeless tobacco, is the number one stand-alone risk factor for head and neck cancers, Inman says, with alcohol consumption a close runner-up. Additionally, he says combined tobacco and alcohol use places people at a greater risk of developing these cancers than those who use tobacco or alcohol alone. Most head and neck squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth and voice box are caused by tobacco and alcohol use, according to the National Cancer Institute. “Head and neck cancers are almost always tied to smoking and drinking alcohol,” says Inman. Quitting smoking and [...]

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