HPV infection and the relationship with laryngeal cancer in young people

The disease HPV (acronym for human papilloma virus ), already known in the medical scenario for causing genital warts and some types of cancer , was the subject of research recently published in the journal Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology .

The virus already had an established relationship with cervical cancer (about 95% of cases are caused by HPV). But now science shows that the agent may also be related to cancer of the larynx, especially in young people.

Read more: Why should I vaccinate my child against HPV?

This discovery may be relevant, since according to the Brazilian Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ABORL), Brazil is among the countries with the highest number of diagnoses of this type of cancer in the world.

The search

The study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), in the USA, analyzed about 353 patients between July 1990 and June 2018. These people had malignant tumors (cancer) in the glottis (vocal cords) or in the supraglottic larynx ( region slightly above the vocal cords).

Patients were divided into some groups to facilitate control: 112 of them had been treated between 1990 and 2004, and 241 had been treated between 2004 and 2018.

In the last group analyzed, a piece of data caught the researchers’ attention. A small proportion of people were aged 30 or less, and of these, only three were smokers.

This fact reveals something unusual, since laryngeal cancer occurs mostly in people with a history of smoking and over 40 years of age.

From then on, several analyzes were performed on the tissue samples of each carrier of the tumors. Among the 11 young patients, strains of HPV were found in 10 of them.

The result suggests that there may be a connection between the virus and an increase in the diagnosis of laryngeal cancer in young non-smokers.

First observed among scientists, this relationship points to the need for future studies in order to understand how laryngeal cancer affects younger people and non-smokers, in addition to establishing the incidence of HPV in these cases.

Laryngeal cancer, if discovered early and the patient soon starts treatment, can have a great chance of cure, between 80% to 100%. That is why it is important to visit a doctor regularly to prevent this threat.

Although the relationship between HPV and neoplasia is not completely established, the HPV vaccine is a good alternative to fight diseases.