First cervical cancer, then head and neck cancers, and now, skin cancer. According to a new study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers have implicated cutaneous HPV infection in the development of non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, says the Moffitt Cancer Center in a press release. Working with colleagues at the University of South Florida and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Moffitt researchers found that HPV and sun exposure work together to promote the growth of non-melanoma skin tumors.
"The researchers hypothesized that persistent HPV infection may promote tumor progression by interfering with an individual's response to UV radiation-induced DNA damage," Moffitt says. The team studied 204 patients with basal cell carcinoma, 156 patients with squamous cell carcinoma, and 297 healthy controls, and found that cutaneous sensitivity to sun exposure was associated with a higher prevalence of antibodies to cutaneous HPV types.