HPV test for oral cancers may improve patient outcomes, facilitate targeted therapy

November 5, 2012, Cancer Research UK
HPV test for oral cancers may improve patient outcomes and treatments

(Medical Xpress)—A new test designed to classify tonsil and throat cancers into one of two groups should help deliver the right treatment to the right patients, according to research being presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool next week.

The RNAscope can be carried out in hospitals and looks for the presence of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) in oropharyngeal cancers. Doctors will be able to use the results to classify these cancers as HPV positive or negative and offer treatment accordingly.

Researchers at Liverpool and Newcastle universities analysed 79 oropharyngeal samples for HPV using different techniques. They found that the accuracy of classification in the RNAscope test was similar to that of more complex laboratory results.

Previous research has found the risk of death from HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer to be between 50-80 per cent lower than HPV negative tumours but are usually younger so may face a lifetime of treatment-related side effects. The researchers hope that, by classifying the HPV status of the cancer, clinicians can offer eligible patients less intensive treatment with reduced side-effects.

They also believe that it will make it easier to recruit patients for clinical trials as they can specifically screen patients for HPV positive or negative cancers. The HPV testing used in clinical trials is not always accurate and no uniform testing standard exists within the NHS. This research has the potential to solve the problem for NHS practice and clinical trials.

Oropharyngeal cancers linked to HPV are on the rise and previous research has shown HPV-related cancers to be biologically different from other head and neck cancers, leading to new avenues of treatment.

Andrew Schache, study author based at the University of Liverpool, said: "Testing the HPV status of cancers will allow us to pick the most appropriate patients for and hopefully help to develop based on a better understanding of these cancers.

"We've shown that the new test, which can easily be carried out in an NHS Pathology laboratory, has the same accuracy and reliability as more complex research laboratory testing. It has the potential to benefit NHS patients because it will help to ensure that they get the most appropriate treatment for their cancer."

Dr Jane Cope, director of the NCRI, said: "The study was carried out on only a small number of patients so it's important for further work to be done to ensure the reliability of such a test. Until further research confirms these results, the risk would be that the wrong treatment was offered to a patient based on the outcome of the test.

"But the accuracy so far is proving to be very promising and this work will help us to target patients in the most effective way possible, which is essential if we are to improve survival and reduce side effects in ."

Explore further: HPV improves survival for African-Americans with throat cancer

More information: www.ncri.org.uk/ncriconference … s/abstracts/RH1.html

Related Stories

HPV improves survival for African-Americans with throat cancer

July 19, 2012
Even though the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for certain head and neck cancers, its presence could make all the difference in terms of survival, especially for African Americans with throat cancer, say Henry ...

Oral HPV infection, HPV-related cancers more common in men

January 26, 2012
Oral HPV infection is more common among men than women, explaining why men are more prone than women to develop an HPV related head and neck cancer, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer ...

Gender, insurance type tied to HPV infection in laryngeal cancer patients

September 14, 2011
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is more likely to be found in tumors of laryngeal cancer patients who are male and those with private health insurance, according to a new study from researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

Study examines chronic inflammation in oral cavity and HPV status of head and neck cancers

June 18, 2012
Among patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, a history of chronic inflammation in the mouth (periodontitis, i.e. gum disease) may be associated with an increased risk of tumors positive for human papillomavirus ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.