Vaccinating women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may prevent some forms of breast cancer and save tens of thousands of lives each year, new UNSW research suggests.
Using genetic probes, researchers at the University of New South Wales tested cancerous breast cells and found several strains of HPVs known to have a high risk of initiating cancer of the cervix. HPV has a causal role in 90-95 per cent of cervical cancers.
The study was conducted by a team from the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, led by Visiting Professor James Lawson, and is published in the British Journal of Cancer.
"The finding that high risk HPV is present in a significant number of breast cancers indicates they may have a causal role in many breast cancers," says UNSW researcher, Dr Noel Whitaker, a co-author of the new report.
"Confirming a cancer-causing role for HPV in some breast cancers establishes the possibility of preventing some breast cancers by vaccination against HPV," he says.
Read the full story on the Faculty of Science website