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
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
By Dan Wilson
Books on Cancer
Keywords and misspellings: papilomavirus
papalomavirus papelomavirus papellomavirus papaloma papiloma