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Fox Chase researchers find some lung cancers linked to common virus
Date:4/10/2013

WASHINGTON, DC (April 10, 2013)A common virus known to cause cervical and head and neck cancers may also trigger some cases of lung cancer, according to new research presented by Fox Chase Cancer Center at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 on Wednesday, April 10.

Examining tissue samples from lung cancer patients, the researchers found that nearly 6% showed signs they may have been driven by a strain of human papillomavirus (HPV) known to cause cancer.

If HPV indeed plays a role in lung cancer in some patients, the next step is to better understand those tumors so they can be treated more effectively. "The ultimate goal," says study author Ranee Mehra, MD, attending physician in medical oncology at Fox Chase, "is to determine if we can target our therapies to the specific characteristics of these tumors."

Studies from Asia have shown that lung tumors are frequently infected with HPV. The pattern makes sense, explains Mehrathe lungs are located very near the head and neck, which are known to be at risk of tumors upon exposure to some strains of HPV.

To investigate, she and her colleagues examined 36 tissue samples from people diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer who had never smoked, part of the Fox Chase Cancer Center Biosample Repository. The reason they chose non-smokers, Mehra explains, is that smoking is a major cause of lung cancerbut in non-smokers, the explanation is often less obvious.

The researchers found that 4 out of 36 samples had signs of infection from two strains of HPV known to cause cancer, 16 and 18. Looking more closely at the two samples infected by HPV 16, Mehra and her team saw signs the virus had integrated into the tumor's DNAwhich is even more suggestive that the infection caused the tumor. They presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Although this suggests that HPV drives lung cancer in less than 6% of non-smoker patient
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
diana.quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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