The presence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) in the diagnosis of invasive cervical cancer is associated with a better prognosis compared to cases where HPV is not identified in the tumor. This was reported by researchers at the Karolinska University in Sweden «PLOS Medicine» magazine. They believe that high-risk HPV may be an important prognostic marker that can be used in the selection of therapeutic strategy.
The virus is high risk human papillomavirus - the primary cause of cervical cancer. In the current study, researchers analyzed the possible correlation between the presence of the virus in the tumor and the survival of patients with invasive cervical cancer (i.e. cancer has spread to surrounding tissue).
They collected information on all cases of invasive cervical cancer in Sweden over the years 2002-2011 (a total of 4254 cases). They then collected data on HPV regional biobanks for 2845 participants and compared the data on the survival of the national registers.
The study found that the relative five-year survival rate of women with HPV-positive tumors was 74%, while HPV-negative - 54%.
HPV high risk person was identified in 80% of tumors. HPV-positive tumors were detected mainly at screening, and women had a higher socio-economic status and were younger, compared with patients who have HPV-negative tumors. Women with HPV-negative tumors disease is usually located at a later stage.
After adjusting for age, tumor type and stage of cancer at diagnosis, it was found that women with HPV-positive tumors had a lower risk of mortality.
"The presence of high-risk HPV types in invasive tumor tissue is a powerful and accessible prognostic marker for cervical invasive cancer" - the researchers reported.
The underlying biological mechanisms of why the absence of high-risk HPV is associated with a worse prognosis are unknown and need to be studied.