Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer— leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.

The medical community is struggling to come to grips with the implications. There is currently no good screening method for HPV-caused cancer in the head and neck, and commercially available HPV vaccines are still prescribed only to people under the age of 26, despite evidence that they could prevent head and neck cancer in all adults. Plus, if HPV can get into the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, where does it stop? There are hints that HPV is a risk factor for other, even more common, types of cancer, including lung cancer.

Nature. 2013 Nov 21;503(7476):330-2. doi: 10.1038/503330a.

Scudellari M.,PMID: 24256791 [PubMed - in process]