The number of oral cancer cases diagnosed each year in the UK has risen above 6,000 for the first time, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK.
Richard Shaw, an expert in head and neck cancers, based at the University’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine and the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre, said: “We have seen a rapid increase in the number of HPV16-positive cases of oral cancer. We have also noticed that patients with HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger, are less likely to be smokers and have better outcomes from treatment than those whose tumours show no evidence of HPV.
“This raises questions as to exactly how these cancers develop and why they only affect a small proportion of people who are exposed.
“As HPV-related cancers appear to behave quite differently, the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre is also involved in Cancer Research UK-funded clinical trials to improve treatments.”