Smoking has long been known as a risk for developing lung cancer. Now researchers believe that common viruses may contribute to the risk of developing lung cancer.
Papers were presented last Friday at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Among the reports, Dr. Arash Rezazadeh from the University of Louisville, Kentucky submitted the results of tests on 23 lung cancer patients, all of whom were smokers.
Six samples tested positive for HPV, human papillomavirus responsible for cervical cancer and genital warts. One was a cervical cancer that had spread to the lungs.
These findings support an assumption that HPV may in some way contribute to the development of non-small cell lung cancer.
Dr. Rezazadeh notes that a correlation does not mean a cause. "We think HPV has a role as a co-carcinogen which increases the risk of cancer in a smoking population," he says.
In five samples, HPV type 16, HPV type 11 and HPV type 22 was found.
Gardasil, the HPV vaccine aggressively promoted by Merck & Co. Inc., prevents against HPV Types 6, 11, 16 and 18.
Also at the conference, Israeli researchers suggested that the measles virus might factor into lung cancers as more than half of the lung cancer patients in their study had evidence of the measles virus in their cancer samples.
"Measles virus is a ubiquitous human virus that may be involved in the pathogenesis of lung cancer," says lead author Prof. Samuel Ariad from Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel. "Most likely, it acts in modifying the effect of other carcinogens and not as a causative factor by itself."
Previously, HPV has been connected to cancers of the mouth and throat besides cervical cancer and genital warts. #