Washington, Apr 26 : Common viruses, like human papilloma virus (HPV) and measls virus, may lead to development of lung cancer, according to new reports.
While the experts maintain smoking to be the primary factor causing lung cancer development, there are other factors, which may also play a role in some cases.
One of the reports by Dr. Arash Rezazadeh and colleagues from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, detailed the results of a study conducted on 23 lung cancer samples from patients in Kentucky.
It was discovered that six samples tested positive for human papilloma virus (HPV), which also causes many cases of cervical cancer. In fact, one of them turned out to be a cervical cancer that had spread to the lungs. Of the remaining 5 virus-positive samples, two were HPV type 16, two were HPV type 11 and one was HPV type 22.
"The fact that five out of 22 non-small-cell lung cancer samples were HPV-positive supports the assumption that HPV contributes to the development of non-small-cell lung cancer," said the authors.
Rezazadeh said that all the patients in the study were smokers as well.
"We think HPV has a role as a co-carcinogen which increases the risk of cancer in a smoking population," he said.
Another paper by Israeli researchers indicated that measles virus might also be a factor in some lung cancers. In their study, they examined 65 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, of whom more than half had evidence of measles virus in tissue samples taken from their cancer.
"Measles virus is a ubiquitous human virus that may be involved in the pathogenesis of lung cancer. Most likely, it acts in modifying the effect of other carcinogens and not as a causative factor by itself," said lead author Prof. Samuel Ariad from Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel.
The papers were presented at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference.