Plantar warts
A study has shown a link between oral cancer and the human papillomavirus, which causes genital warts and foot warts, among other things. Image from Wikimedia commons.

A new study has just been released that asserts a link exists between the rise in certain mouth cancers and the human papillomavirus. HPV can be sexually transmitted, and the HPV vaccine has been a contentious issue for years.

Oral cancer linked to sexually transmitted disease

The Journal of Clinical Oncology is publishing a study, according to the New York Times, that purports a link between a common sexually transmitted disease and a type of oral cancer. The findings indicate that mouth cancers can be caused by the human papillomavirus.

The study sought to explain the rise of oropharyngeal cancers, a type of mouth cancer that has previously been linked to HPV, according to USA Today. Oropharyngeal cancers, which often affect the throat and tongue, have become more frequently diagnosed than other oral cancers. The rate of oropharyngeal cancers in the population have increased by 28 percent since 1988, with about 10,000 cases per year.

Researchers tested the link by using tissue samples from cancer patients that have been stored over the years for HPV. They found that HPV was present in 16 percent of tissue samples in the late 1980s to 73 percent from recent years.

More frequent than cancer caused by tobacco

The study also found, according to CNN, that the incidence of oral cancers in HPV-positive patients rose by 225 percent in the samples, which were collected from 1984 to 2004. HPV-negative cancers dropped by 50 percent, which researchers attributed to declining use of tobacco.

They estimate that HPV is responsible for up to 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancers and attribute the remainder to tobacco, alcohol and other factors to the remaining 30 percent.

It isn’t clearly established that patients acquired an HPV infection from oral sex that led to cancer, but merely that the HPV was present in the oral cancer tissue, according to USA Today. However, 95 percent of the cancers, according to CNN, tested positive for HPV16.

HPV16 is a strain of HPV that is sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer in women. It is also the strain of HPV targeted by the vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix, made by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, respectively. Merck, according to the New York Times, has previously funded the research of Dr. Maura Gillison of Ohio State University and lead author of the study, but did not contribute to this one, according to her.

Vaccine could conceivably prevent cancer

HPV is not a single virus, but is a class of about 200 similar viruses, according to Wikipedia. Fewer than 50 are sexually transmitted. Papillomaviruses generally cause warts, with a few strains producing genital warts and others producing common warts and plantar warts. The vaccines, according to ABC, protect against four types of the human papillomavirus, of which HPV16 is one.

One of the other authors of the study, Dr. Kevin Cullen, was quoted as saying that the HPV vaccine could possibly prevent oropharyngeal cancers and that the vaccine should also be given to boys, but that more research would be needed.


New York Times:


USA Today:

Wikipedia on HPV:


Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)


Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]