How is Lung Cancer Related to HPV?

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lung cancer

The highest prevalence of HPV 16 infection in lung adenocarcinomas, suggesting that HPV infection may be associated with lung cancer.Intervirology (1)

Everybody knows that smoking can cause lung cancer.

However, several new studies have shown that HPV infection can lead to lung cancer. In a review published on August 3, 2013 in Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, the authors said that “Risk factors for the development of lung cancer include (HPV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis), hormonal and dietary factors and diabetes mellitus. (2)”

Another article published on April 10, 2013 on reported that “Studies from Asia have shown that lung tumors are frequently infected with HPV.

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. (3)”

lung cancer 2

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, … (the) team saw signs the virus had integrated into the tumor’s DNA—which is even more suggestive that the infection caused the tumor. (3)

The bottom line?

If even a small percentage of lung cancer tumors develop because of HPV, then developing a drug or natural product that specifically targets the latent virus should be a significant direction for future research.


(1) Badillo-Almaraz I1, Zapata-Benavides P, Saavedra-Alonso S, Zamora-Avila D, Reséndez-Pérez D, Tamez-Guerra R, Herrera-Esparza R, Rodríguez-Padilla C. “Human papillomavirus 16/18 infections in lung cancer patients in Mexico.” Intervirology. 2013;56(5):310-5

(2) Pallis AG, Syrigos KN. “Lung cancer in never smokers: disease characteristics and risk factors.” Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2013 Dec;88(3):494-503

(3) Fox Chase Cancer Center – Some lung cancers linked to common virus – Science Daily. Published April 10, 2013

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