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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AUSTRALIA: HPV Tied to 3-Fold Greater Risk for Esophageal Cancer
By Reuters
August 1, 2013
Fox News (07.31.2013)

Data from the National Cancer Institute reported that the United States diagnosed nearly 18,000 cases of esophageal cancer and recorded 15,000 deaths from the disease annually. According to World Health Organization data, esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world and caused approximately 400,000 deaths annually. The STD human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is linked to cervical cancer, anal cancer, and some cancers of the upper throat. Dr. Surabhi Liyanage, a graduate student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues investigated the relationship between HPV and esophageal cancer. The researchers collected results from all studies that compared patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and those without it. They examined esophageal tissue samples from patients with and without the cancer from the 21 eligible studies, to determine whether HPV was present. The researchers found HPV in the esophageal tissue of 35 percent of cancer patients compared to 27 percent of those without esophageal cancer. The results indicated that those with HPV infection in their esophageal tissue were three times more susceptible to esophageal cancer. The author noted that if HPV caused the cancer, then HPV vaccines could help prevent it. However, she acknowledged that further study was needed because cancer-preventing vaccines most often took many years after the initial vaccination to show benefits. Liyanage suggested alternative ways of reducing the risk of developing esophageal cancer, such as not smoking and not drinking excessively. The full report, “The Aetiological Role of Human Papillomavirus in Oesophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis,” was published online in the journal PLoS One (2013; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069238)