Partners of patients with cervical carcinoma

Early detection of HPV16-induced tumours

Guidelines for identifying high-risk patients

Partners of patients with HPV-induced tumours

Partners of patients with cervical carcinoma

Partners of patients with cervical carcinomas develop tumours in parts of the mouth and throat up to three times more frequently than the general population. Figure 1 shows study data collected for partners of patients with cervical cancer in situ and invasive cervical cancer.

Although the data is clear, it is rare that partners of affected patients are informed about their risk and that regular examinations are initiated. Pharyngeal tumours in particular  are usually discovered in an advanced stage.

However, early detection of a tumour in the mouth and throat can reduce the extent of necessary therapeutic interventions. The risk of tumour development in the male partner remains elevated for several years after the diagnosis of a cervical tumour in the female patient (see Figure 1).

Partners of patients with HPV-induced oropharyngeal carcinomas

In doctors’ practices, partners of patients with HPV16 positive oropharyngeal carcinoma are noticed if, like their partners, they also develop HPV16-induced tumours. As yet, there isn’t as much data to draw on about the prevalence of oral and pharyngeal cancer in partners of patients with oropharyngeal cancer as for patients with cervical carcinomas and their partners.

However, in one study genome analysis was informative. In one couple, where both suffered from oropharyngeal carcinoma, the analysis showed that the oncogenic virus in the tumours of both partners was genetically nearly identical.2

The time between the occurrence or the diagnosis of tumours in both partners can be very short. The shortest time interval, according to a report by experts of the Mayo Clinic in the USA was 2 months.2