HPV triples risk of oesophageal cancer

OSCC, the more common of two types of oesophageal cancer, is rare in Australia but is the sixth highest cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

It is particularly prevalent in China, South Africa and Iran among men in their mid-70s to 80s and is thought to be linked to dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors.

A meta-analysis of 21 case-controlled studies covering more than 1200 cases found that HPV DNA was found in 35% of OSCC specimens, with a threefold increased risk of HPV-OSCC association.

First author, Dr Surabhi Liyanage, of the University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine, said that OSCC was usually diagnosed late and has a high mortality.

“HPV is another factor which we can add to a long list of causes of OSCC,” he said. “Smoking and alcohol are the main causes, as well as the consumption of extremely hot liquids, lots of red meat and possibly environmental toxins in the diet