Article: Role of human papillomavirus in non-oropharyngeal head and neck cancers—JD Combes et al.
Source: Oral Oncol. 2014 May;50(5):370-9. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.11.004. Epub 2013 Dec 9
Study Aims and Results
The MD Anderson Cancer Center was the first cancer center established to treat HCV-0infected cancer patients. The center physicians started to notice a large number of patients with head and neck cancers among their patients. As a result they decided to study whether hepatitis C is associated with head and neck cancers.
The medical records at the center from 2004 through 2014 were analyzed for primary oropharyngeal or non oropharyngeal. The control group (non-hepatitis C) had smoking-associated cancers—lung, esophagus, or urinary bladder. The biopsy reports of the oropharyngeal cancers were tested for human papillomavirus (HPV) and reviewed. All of the patients with lymphoma were excluded.
A total of 34,545 cancer patients were tested for hepatitis C. Of those patients, 409 had head and neck cancers (164 oropharyngeal and 245 non oropharyngeal). The number of patients with oropharyngeal cancer with hepatitis C antibodies was 14% compared to 6.5% of those without hepatitis C antibodies. This was even higher in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer–16.9% vs. 6.5% and still higher in the non oropharyngeal group–20.0% vs. 6.5%.than in the control group.
The authors concluded that there needs to be further studies to understand the relationship between hepatitis C, HPV and other HPV-related cancers.
Hepatitis C is not just a liver disease. It is a systemic disease that affects every area of the body. The larger medical profession is finally catching up to what patients and some medical providers have known all along. More research is needed to understand the connection between hepatitis C and head and neck cancers.
There are well-known extrahepatic-manifestations that affect the mouth and salivary glands such as sialadenitis and Sjogren’s Syndrome. There are many extrahepatic conditions. Want to learn more? Check out our Extrahepatic Manifestation Glossary: http://hcvadvocate.org/resources/glossaries/exhtrahepaticglossary/
Commonly Used Terms:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. Some types of it can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems.
Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the cells that are part of the body’s immune system.
Oropharyngeal cancers are cancers that begin in and around the throat.
Non oropharyngeal cancers are cancers that begin in and around the mouth.
An association is when two different attributes occur together either more or less often than expected by chance. In other words – the association between oropharyngeal and non orpharyngeal cancers doesn’t mean the hepatitis C causes them it means that there is a higher rate of HCV in people who have these types of head and neck cancers.