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Researchers: Possible Viral Links to Lung Cancer Uncovered


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02236.html


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FRIDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although smoking is well-established as an independent risk factor for lung cancer, two new studies suggest that two different viral infections might boost a smoker's already substantial risk for developing the disease.

While the specific viruses at issue -- human papillomavirus (HPV) and measles -- may not directly cause lung cancer, they seem to aggravate the negative impact of tobacco, American and Israeli researchers say.

Both findings were presented Friday by separate research teams attending the European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva.

"In terms of HPV, our finding is pretty controversial," said study author Dr. Arash Rezazadeh, a fellow of medical oncology and hematology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. "And this is just the beginning of the road. There is much more work to be done. But it's important to know that being infected with this virus does appear to increase lung cancer risk."

As for the role of measles, the second study's lead author, Dr. Samuel Ariad, from the department of oncology at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel, said that infection -- perhaps even asymptomatic infection -- seems to be associated with half of the lung cancer cases he tracked.

"Measles virus by itself is unlikely to be carcinogenic," he said. "[but] it probably modifies previous damage to DNA caused by smoking."

Both studies specifically focused on the viral impact on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) risk. According to the American Cancer Society, 85 percent to 90 percent of all lung cancers are of this variety. Estimates regarding all forms of lung cancer indicate that 215,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year alone.

In the HPV study, Rezazadeh and his colleagues analyzed lung tissue samples taken from 23 lung cancer patients being treated in Kentucky. Kentucky, they noted, is the state with the highest rate of adult and teenage smoking in the United States, as well as the highest rate of NSCLC.

Among the patients -- all of whom were smokers -- five were found positive for infection with a variety of HPV strains.

The authors said this frequency of infection "supports the assumption that HPV contributes to the development of NSCLC." They point out that HPV is already known to be the cause of all cases of cervical cancer, a vaccine for which has recently become available. It has also recently been implicated as a possible cause for head and neck cancer.

Further studies are planned to look for signs of HPV infection in the respiratory tract of lung cancer patients and to explore the possibility for using HPV infection as a screening indicator for the disease.

In the measles study, Ariad and his team analyzed lung tissue samples taken from 65 Israeli lung cancer patients between the ages of 40 and 84. Ninety percent were smokers, and most were in the early stages of the disease.

The authors found evidence of measles infection in 54 percent of the patients. The likelihood of viral infection, they observed, went up with age.

They concluded that "a possible association" exists between measles and NSCLC.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, described both research efforts as "interesting." But he cautioned that more research needs to be done on each front.

"The question I have for the measles association has to do with vaccination, since in the U.S., at least, we have near universal coverage," he noted. "So although the measles vaccine may lose some of its effectiveness over time, it would be interesting to know if this finding would apply to a country such as ours where most people are vaccinated."

"But I think the HPV study is the more interesting of the two," Lichtenfeld added, "since HPV is obviously already implicated in other cancers. But this is a small study, and it only suggests a possible link to lung cancer without answering a lot of questions. I would like to know, for example, whether patients who are not smokers but who develop lung cancer have a higher rate of HPV. But for now, I would not yet conclude that HPV increases risk, nor would I tie the HPV vaccine to any risk."

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(Washington Post, HealthDay News, By Alan Mozes, April 25, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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This is interesting. I know that once you have had Chicken Pox you always have the virus. Older people break out in "Shingles" which is the chicken pox virus that was "dormant" for years waking up and is contagious!

I had Chicken Pox ( at 5 months of age) and also bothe strains of Measles when I was a small kid. I wonder if the Measles virus stays with you also. It seems unlikely that all those lung cancer patients were suffering from Measles as adults.


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From my point of view, the most exciting part of this is the possibility of a lung cancer "vaccine." Why? Because my daughter, grandchildren, sister and nieces and nephews are 2.5 times more likely to contract cancer because I have--and if any of them smoke that percentage jumps drastically.

The very idea of a vaccine makes me jump up and down for joy!

Thanks for the posting, Barb!


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Hi Carole,

Yes, this is an exciting subject.

Regarding the vaccine puzzlement, in a similar venue, there is a Dr. Zheng Cui who will be conducting studies for a particular vaccine which will begin this summer.

After reading somewhat on the subject, there was a reason for the delay in beginning the studies.

Evidently, the summer - warm weather/sun aspects - the immune system with regard to the "immune cells" (I may not have the proper wordage here.) is higher and at optimum in that weather environment.

Bill and I are getting ready this morning for his 4- to-5 hour infusion, so am quickly putting the link for you to peruse. I posted this last fall on the other board, and this article has reminded me to follow up.

http://www1.wfubmc.edu/molecular_geneti ... ancer/Cui/


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Thanks, Barb. I remember the "mouse" article now that I've re-read it. Verrry interesting.

Also interesting was the fact that not only season, but stress were factors.

All the more reason for me to try to get some gardening done today (my #1 anti-stressor) even though my "new" definition of gardening is now outdoor potted plants on the deck rather than two entire yards--front and back. :D

Thanks again and hope yours and Bill's day goes as well as possible (under the circumstances).


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Today was a very long day. We arrived at the Cancer Center (HUMC) at about 8:30 am and arrived home at 6 pm.

We had been gone for 9 1/2 hours. It was raining a lot today, so no big loss.

However, the weather made the day seem very quiet, sullen, and long. Also, every bone seemed to ache. I don't know why - except for the dampness.

On arriving home, we fed the cats, (Pye and Samantha) and heated up some leftover whole grain pasta with tomato sauce for the two of us.

Bill rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and went downstairs to say the Rosary (it gives him peace) and watch TV. He arrived upstairs not too long after to say that he was VERY tired and was off to bed.

You probably do not need to read all of this minutia, but somehow, it may connect on a human level on how many of us need to face these "necessaries" in our lives.

Today, we realized that we are very fortunate for Bill to be receiving a treatment which was not available not so very long ago.

Tomorrow, Bill will be receiving his injection of Neupogen - one of four - lasting until Friday. He takes them at the Cancer Center, so off we go early tomorrow morning.

He looked fine when he said, "Goodnight," and is not in any discomfort at all. Thank you God.

Love you,


PS: I only just saw your very kind comment on the photo.

You would not believe the manipulations gone through to isolate Bill and me from a family photo, resize it, and get the proper pixels. :lol:

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Keep that gardening going. I think Bill has been doing well due to his constant attention to the lawn care, and our backyard - no place closer to God, as they say ...

This evening, on our entering the house, I noticed the front lawn border. Without Bill seemingly doing one thing to promote it, a lovely spray of lily of the valley, and other unnamed plants were in proliferation across the border, along the front sidewalk. All he had done was to weed last week (well, that was the ONE thing).

The plants were able to survive - kind of like us. :lol:

How great is this?


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How great is this?

It's great, Barb. In fact, there's nothing like a lung cancer dx to wake one up to the fact that every day is great, every plant is great (especially the bloomers!), the birds who hang out at my feeder and birdbath are great, as are those pesky squirrels who scramble all over my fences and decks, and even the raccoons who keep trying to figure out how to take over my house via the roof and attic! :D

And then there are the great people... like you and Bill, for example. :lol:

I know this sounds corny, Barb, but I swear I've never enjoyed or appreciated life more than during the last 16 months. :)


PS Love the pic. Super seeing you two "in person."

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