Insight into Human Papilloma Virus and Cancer Larynx

By Dr. Mohammed A. Gomaa, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology, Minia University, Egypt

Laryngeal carcinoma is an important entity of oncology as it accounts for 30-40 per cent of all malignant head and neck tumours. The risk factors of cancer larynx are smoking, alcohol consumption, irradiation, some industrial fumes, Laryngopharyngeal reflux, processed meat, etc.

Human papilloma virus (HPV)is a double strand DNA virus and present in more than 150 subtypes, it replicates within epithelial cells of the host mucosa and skin. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide; it can cause self-limiting warts, tumours or invasive cancer. HPV is one of the most common aetiology of cervical cancer in females.

HPV can be detected in Squmous cell carcinoma from various head and neck subsides, the highest in Oropharynx. The viral role in laryngeal cancer has been studied with conflicting results. The prevalence of HPV with cancer larynx was 25 per cent worldwide, while it was 18 per cent in Egypt, 34 per cent in India and 43 per cent in Turkey.

In the U.S., the role of HPV in Oropharyngeal cancer is rising, and it can be suspected in young adults who don’t smoke or drink. Now it is known that HPV produces oncoprotiens that can injure the nucleus and transform a normal cell into a cancer cell. HPV can affect larynx through oral sex, and we believe that (from our experience) that other routes of transmission are present.

Reports now conclude that HPV positive tumours are biologically different from HPV negative ones; also, HPV positive tumours respond better than negative ones when laryngeal cancer was treated by chemotherapy. I believe that HPV is an etiological factor in cancer larynx.

Dr. Gomaa discussed ‘HPV and Laryngeal cancer’ as part of the General ENT conference, at the ME OTO Exhibition and Congress 2019.