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Medical News

HPV Key Link to Unusual Form of Cancer

March 6, 2006

Human papillomavirus has long been linked to cervical squamous cell cancer, the most common type of cervical cancer. In a new study, researchers found that HPV is also associated with an unusual form, cervical adenocarcinoma.

In eight case-controlled studies in Africa, South America and South Asia, women with HPV infection had an 80-fold increase in their risk of cervical adenocarcinoma. Additional risk factors included herpes simplex virus-2 infection, poor hygiene, long-term hormonal contraceptive use, no schooling, and sexual behavior-related variables, reported Dr. Xavier Castellsague, of the Institute Catala d'Oncologia in Barcelona, Spain, and international colleagues.

Other researchers believe the findings mean that HPV vaccines currently in clinical trials are targeting the right HPV strains and could have the potential to prevent 86 percent of all cervical adenocarcinoma cases. This year, Merck & Co. may receive a Food and Drug Administration review to market the Gardasil vaccine, which appears to prevent 70 percent of HPV-related cervical cancers.

"This study shows that HPV is a major detriment to women's health and it's a major player in causing both types of cancer," said Dr. David A. Fishman, director of the New York University Cancer Institute's National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program. "The bottom line, the study shows, is that if you can eradicate or prevent these types of HPV associated with cancer, you could prevent getting cancer of the cervix and save lives."

The full study, "Worldwide Human Papillomavirus Etiology of Cervical Adenocarcinoma and Its Cofactors: Implications for Screening and Prevention," was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2006;98(5):303-315).

Back to other news for March 6, 2006

Adapted from:
Newsday (New York)
03.01.06; Curtis L. Taylor

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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