Cervical cancer negative for human papillomavirus (HPV) is rare but more aggressive: it is usually diagnosed in more advanced stages and is associated with more metastasis and lower survival. These are the conclusions of a study published in Modern Pathology, co-led by ISGlobal, a center promoted by “la Caixa”, the Hospital Clinic and the University of Barcelona.
This tumor is the fourth most frequent cancer in women in the world, and one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality. HPV infection (particularly some genotypes) is its main cause. However, there is a small percentage of cases that appear to be negative for the virus. It is not clear, however, if these tumors represent a different subtype of cancer, with different clinical characteristics and prognosis.
In this work, the team led by Jaume Ordi, ISGlobal pathologist and researcher, analyzed the tumors of 214 women diagnosed with cervical cancer and admitted to the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona between 2012 and 2015, who were followed for about five years .
Using a highly sensitive molecular amplification test, they found that 10% of the tumors analyzed were negative for HPV DNA. However, women with this type of tumor were diagnosed at a later stage of the disease, had more lymph node metastases, and on average survived half the time as those women with HPV-positive tumors.
“These results confirm previous studies by our group, with smaller samples,” explains Ordi. “The new work confirms that negative tumors for HPV represent a more aggressive type of cancer with a worse prognosis, which should be taken into account for the clinical management of patients,” he adds.