Human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus known to cause cervical and head and neck cancers, may also trigger some cases of lung cancer, according to new preliminary research presented by Fox Chase Cancer Center. When examining tumor tissue samples from lung cancer patients who have never smoked, researchers found six percent of the samples showed signs of HPV infection. Researchers say further study is needed to understand the role HPV plays in some cases of cancer, which could potentially help us find ways to treat lung cancer more effectively. Although the study suggests that only a small percentage of those tumors stem from HPV, study author Dr. Ranee Mehra notes this linkage could help a large number of patients, given that lung cancer kills more than 1 million people a year and approximately 10 percent of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers.
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