Antibodies to Herpesvirus Nonvirion Antigens in Squamous Carcinomas

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Science  16 Nov 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4113, pp. 713-715
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4113.713


Serums from tumor-bearing patients, cured patients, and normal subjects were examined for antibodies to the separated complement-fixing reactive components of nonvirion antigens of herpesvirus type 1 and type 2. The occurrence of antibodies to the antigens was similar in serums from tumor-bearing patients and cured patients. Antibodies to the antigens were observed among 21 of 24 (87 percent) cervical cancer cases, 44 of 49 (90 percent) laryngeal cancer cases, 15 of 24 (62 percent) cases of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck excluding the larynx, 2 of 24 (8 percent) nonsquamous cell cancer cases, and 3 of 51 (6 percent) normal subjects. By contrast, no differences were found in the titers of neutralizing antibodies to the virus in serums from laryngeal cancer patients and controls. The observations support an etiologic role of herpesviruses in cervical cancer and in laryngeal cancer, and possibly other squamous cell cancers of the head and neck.