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Sexual habits rather than smoking may predict survival from throat and mouth cancers

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3140 (Published 04 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3140
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

    A large cancer screening programme in the United States has changed its screening practice and treatment strategy after learning that the effectiveness of chemoradiation for oropharyngeal cancer differs depending on whether the tumour is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The discovery may also explain the stark difference in response to treatment seen between black and white people.

    The findings led the University of Maryland Cancer Center study site, in Baltimore, to immediately change its screening and treatment practices, even before publication (Cancer Prevention Research 2009 July 29, doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-09-0149).

    The study retrospectively analysed biopsy specimens of tumours from a large clinical trial for the presence of HPV. It found that survival was nearly five …

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