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Skin Cancer and Human Papillomavirus HPV Link - No Cure But Treatment For Symptoms Available

March 17th 2006

Skin Cancer and Human Papillomavirus HPV Link - No Cure But Treatment For Symptoms Available


Researchers believe that the human papillomavirus (HPV) may play a role in the development of a certain type of skin cancer.  When comparing people with HPV to those that did not have it, a new study concludes that squamous cell skin cancers were significantly more likely to occur in people with antibodies in their blood to the beta form of HPV.

Scientists have already known that HPV is a significant cause of cervical cancer.  Now it appears it may play a role in certain skin cancers as well.  According to National Institutes of Health (NIH) there are more that 100 types of HPVs, over 30 types can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact.

The skin cancer study involved 252 squamous cell patients and 525 basal cell cancer patients and 461 healthy controls. The researchers adjusted their data for sun exposure and other known skin cancer risk factors.


Lead author Margaret Karagas, M.D said "Although sun exposure and sensitivity to sun are still the main culprits in skin cancer, our findings suggest skin types of HPV also may play a role."  Margaret is a doctor from Dartmouth Medical School's Norris Cotton Cancer Center in White River Junction. She added, "While further study is needed, a potential role of viruses in skin cancer occurrence could represent a new line of investigation for the detection and treatment of squamous cell skin cancer."

The HPV may appear as warts, usually around the genitals or anus.  The HPV can cause changes in the cells that can lead to cancer.  In the case of changes in the cervix, Pap tests can detect cell changes, which may indicate an HPV infection. 


In most people, the HPV infections are usually removed by the immune system, but in some people they may persist leading to precancerous conditions.  The virus will rarely lead to cancer though, according to the NIH. 

It is unknown why the HPV persists in some people but not others.  HPV is the number one sexually transmitted disease and has no known cure.  It is hoped this study will point the way for future treatments and prevention.  The research appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

Books on Cancer

Keywords and misspellings: papilomavirus  papalomavirus  papelomavirus  papellomavirus papaloma papiloma

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM