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Maurie Markman, MD, discusses remaining questions regarding human papillomavirus–negative cervical cancer.
Maurie Markman, MD, physician and president of Medicine and Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the editor-in-chief of our flagship publication, OncologyLive, discusses remaining questions regarding human papillomavirus (HPV)–negative cervical cancer.
Patients with cervical cancer that is considered HPV negative could actually be HPV positive, Markman explains. Although other cancers, such as lymphomas and sarcomas may affect the gynecologic region, cervical cancer is frequently caused by the presence of HPV. Notably, patients with HPV-negative disease may have low HPV expression of 1% or less that traditional screening methods may miss, Markman says. Additionally, HPV that is in mitochondrial DNA can be just as detrimental as HPV that is within the genome, says Markman.
The relationship between cervical cancer and HPV expression is different from that of lung cancer and smoking, Markman says. Patients who smoke tobacco have a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer; however, many never smokers can develop the disease as well. Conversely, HPV is not as easily documented because a patient who tests negative for HPV may in fact be positive, concludes Markman.