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HPV predicts cancer's survivability

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Individuals who have a positive STD test for the human papilomavirus (HPV), which is known to cause cancer of the cervix, actually have a better chance of surviving other cancers, according to a new study from the Ohio State University.

Researchers found that patients with HPV respond better to chemotherapy and have significantly higher life expectancy once they have been diagnosed with cancer.

The virus is known to lead to the development of cervical cancer, and many females are vaccinated against it. However, the study found there may be a genetic component to the virus that causes tumors to be more susceptible to radiation treatment.

Dr Maura Gillison, who led the investigation, said that she was not sure why this seemingly counterintuitive relationship exists, and that some researchers previously believed that the virus might actually predict deadly cancer.

"These findings close the door on these questions and will allow the field to move forward with clinical trials designed to determine how we should use molecular and behavioral factors to personalize therapy for patients," she said.

Gillison added that the knowledge may help doctors catch cancer at an earlier stage when it is more treatable.

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