Infection contributes to the high rates of oropharyngeal cancers

August 27, 2007

Though the overall incidence of head and neck cancers has fallen in the United States, the rate of oropharyngeal (chiefly, tonsil and base of tongue) cancers is stagnant and appears to be rising is certain populations and these trends are likely due to oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. A review published in the October 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, finds an increasing trend in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers, particularly among men under 45 years old, for which HPV infection is the likely cause.

Cancers of the head and neck, which include cancers of the larynx, nasal passages/nose, oral cavity, pharynx, and salivary glands, account for three percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. Men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with these cancers than women. Of the estimated 45,000 new cases of head and neck cancers expected this year, approximately 10,000 are cancers of the pharynx (chiefly the oropharynx). Though the prognosis for these cancers is excellent when caught early, more than half of them are identified in advanced stages, when the prognosis is far worse, making prevention critical to saving lives.

In their review, Erich M. Sturgis, M.D., M.P.H. and Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D. of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, conclude that the stagnate incidence rates of oropharyngeal cancers, particularly cancers of the tonsil and base of tongue, in the face of declines in tobacco use, the principal cause of head and neck cancers, are likely explained by rising prevalence of oropharyngeal exposure to an oncogenic virus. They say the literature points to exposure to HPV - especially strain 16 - as having the strongest association to oropharyngeal cancers. However, the authors suggest that a recently approved HPV vaccine may ultimately have a significant impact on the incidence of oropharyngeal tumors.

"While the cervical cancer and dysplasia prevention policy of HPV16/18 vaccination of young women and adolescent females are commended, we fear that vaccination programs limited to females will only delay the potential benefit in prevention of HPV16/18 associated oropharyngeal cancers, which typically occur in men," conclude the authors.

The authors "encourage the rapid study of the efficacy and safety of these vaccines in males and, if successful, the recommendation of vaccination of young adult and adolescent males."
-end-
Article: "Trends in Head and Neck Cancer Incidence in Relation to Smoking Prevalence: An Emerging Epidemic of Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancers"," Erich M. Sturgis, M.D., M.P.H., and Paul M. Cinciripini, CANCER; Published Online: August 27, 2007 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr. 22963); Print Issue Date: October 1, 2007.

Contact: Laura Sussman, Communications Office, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, lsussman@mdanderson.org, 713-745-2457.

Wiley

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.