Study Links HPV to Skin Cancer

A new study has shown that the omnipresent virus related to cervical, vaginal and throat cancers may also elevate the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, the second most ordinary form of skin cancer.

The research led by Dr. Margaret Karagas of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., discovered that the threat from human papillomavirus seen in the new study was even advanced if people were taking drugs such as glucocorticoids to stifle the immune system.

One expert, however, said that this did not imply that HPV necessarily caused squamous cell carcinoma.

Dr. Stephen Mandy, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and clinical professor of dermatology at the University Of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that it was rather a big soar for him.

“It's perfectly possible that people with high titers [blood levels] of HPV antibodies also have skin cancer for other reasons. Does this mean if patients got the [HPV] vaccine they would be immune to squamous cell carcinoma? Probably not. I think it's a great curiosity but it's hard to define”, he said.

There are some such drugs already that shielded against the HPV strains that caused cervical cancer. But given that there were more than 100 types of HPV; vaccines' defensive skill was improbable to be transformed to another disease.