HPV linked to more cancers in women, men

April 25, 2008 8:19:26 PM PDT
There may soon be new reasons to administer the cervical cancer vaccine.Recent studies have linked the same virus to other cancers.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends the cervical cancer vaccine for girls and women ages 9 through 26.

But those recommendations may widen in the future as the virus that causes cervical cancer - the human papilloma virus, or HPV - has been linked to other cancers in men and women.

One recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who experienced an oral infection with HPV were 32 times more likely to develop throat cancer.

In men, HPV has been linked to genital cancer, causing some experts to question whether the HPV vaccine should be made available to boys as well as girls.

And today, University of Kentucky researchers presented preliminary findings at a European lung cancer conference which link HPV to lung cancer.

Researchers are not sure exactly how HPV may trigger all these cancers, but they theorize the virus interferes with normal DNA function to cause abnormal cell growth.