Cancer Study - Low HPV Infection Rates
Researchers at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that head and neck cancer patients who test positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV) have much better survival rates than patients who do not have the virus, according to a new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. The researchers also discovered that African Americans in the study had a very low rate of HPV infection, and consequently worse survival, which may explain why African American patients traditionally have had a poor prognosis for head and neck cancer.
"For the first time, we have evidence that the major difference in survival between black and white patients with head and neck cancer appears to be the rate of HPV infection. We found an astounding difference in prognosis between patients who are HPV-positive and those who are HPV-negative," says the study's senior author, Kevin J. Cullen, M.D., director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The study results were published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.