The prevalence of throat (oropharyngeal) cancers caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) has increased in recent decades, and some groups are much more likely than others to have the oral HPV infections that can cause these cancers. However, a new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers shows that the risk of developing HPV-related throat ]cancer remains generally low.
There has been interest in the possibility of testing for oral HPV infection to identify people who are at high risk for HPV-related throat cancer. The findings, published in the Annals of Oncology on October 20, suggest that such testing is not justified at this time.
“Currently available tests for the presence of oral HPV infections are not very predictive of oropharyngeal cancer risk — most people who have an oral HPV infection will eventually clear it on their own,” says study co-author Dr. Gypsyamber D’Souza, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s departments of epidemiology and international health.
[Photo: Dr. Gypsyamber D’Souza]