Can a Common Virus be Linked to Lung Cancer?

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Researchers p[resenting at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting this month concluded that a common virus known to cause cervical and head and neck cancers may also cause some cases of lung cancer. After examining tissue samples from lung cancer patients researchers found that  nearly 6% seemed to have been driven by a strain of human papilloma virus (HPV)  Researchers examined 36 tissue samples from people diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer who had never smoked.  Non-smokers were chosen because because smoking is a major cause of lung cancer but the causes in non-smokers is less well understood. They found that 4 of the 36 samples had signs of infection from two strains of HPV that were known to cause cancer–16 and 18. When looking more closely at the two samples infected by HPV they found that the virus had integrated into the tumor’s DNA–suggesting more strongly that the infection caused the tumor. Further research is needed to confirm the results seen in this sample.

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