Study claims to identify strain of cervical cancer virus that causes throat cancer

The latest study has results suggests that HPV16 E6 antibodies in the blood indicate a very high risk of developing an HPV-associated cancer of the oropharynx.

hidden June 19, 2013 17:24:05 IST
Study claims to identify strain of cervical cancer virus that causes throat cancer

Mumbai: Awareness about cunnilingus causing throat cancer may have gone through the roof after actor Michael Douglas openly admitted that he may have contracted the ailment due to oral sex.

A problem for doctors has been that there are over 100 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer, making it difficult to diagnose which patients were more likely to be affected by throat cancer.

However,  a new study now says that the strain to be blamed for the oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the throat, tonsils and base of the throat is the HPV16 strain, and its identification could help develop tests to diagnose throat cancers earlier.

Study claims to identify strain of cervical cancer virus that causes throat cancer

Image for representation only. Reuters.

A new study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in collaboration with German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), US has results suggests that HPV16 E6 antibodies in the blood indicate a very high risk of developing an HPV-associated cancer of the oropharynx.

“These results are very encouraging. Up to now, it was not known whether these antibodies were present in blood before the cancer became clinically detectable."

"If these results are confirmed, future screening tools could be developed for early detection of the disease,” explained Dr Paul Brennan, Head of the Genetics Section at IARC and the senior author of the study, said in a press release.

“To date there are no available markers for early detection of this cancer,” he further said.

Simply put, if the results are confirmed by similar other studies, researchers are hopeful that a blood test can help diagnose the likelihood of getting throat cancer if an individual's partner has the virus.

Incidentally about 30 percent of the cases of oral cancer, particularly in men, is sexually transmitted.

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