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Other highlights of the March 17 issue of JNCI

HPV in Oral Cells May Be a Risk Factor for Head and Neck Cancer

Infection with a high-risk type of human papillomavirus (HPV) in oral epithelial cells may be an independent risk factor for head and neck cancer, according to a new study.

HPV has been associated with the development of head and neck cancers. Elaine M. Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa, and colleagues conducted a casecontrol study to determine the risk factors for head and neck cancer in relation to HPV infection. The authors detected high-risk HPV types in oral cells from 22.9% of the 201 case patients and 10.8% of the 333 control subjects. Individuals with high-risk HPV types, but not individuals with nononcogenic or low-risk HPV types, had an increased risk of head and neck cancer compared with HPV-negative individuals.

High-risk HPV types detected in oral exfoliated cells were predictive of high-risk HPV types in tumor tissue. The authors found a synergistic effect between detection of high-risk HPV and heavy alcohol consumption, but only an additive effect between detection of high-risk HPV and tobacco use. The authors conclude that HPV testing using an oral rinse may provide an early biomarker for HPV-associated head and neck cancer.

Contact: Dan McMillan, University of Iowa, 319-335-6835, daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu

Letrozole Extends Time to Tumor Progression in Mouse Model

In a mouse model of human breast cancer, the drug letrozole more effectively extends time to tumor progression than tamoxifen or various combinations and dosing schedules of tamoxifen plus letrozole.

Clinical data from patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer suggest that aromatase inhibitors, such as letrozole, are more effective and better tolerated than the antiestrogen tamoxifen. To investigate ways to optimize treatment using letrozole and tamoxifen, Brian J. Long and Angela M. Brodie, Ph.D.
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Contact: Katherine Arnold
jncimedia@oupjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
16-Mar-2004


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