COVID-19 News: Will SARS-CoV-2 Infections Ultimately Lead To An Increased Incidence Of Head And Neck Cancers?
COVID-19 News - Head And Neck Cancers - By Nikhil P & Kittisak M Feb 02, 2023 2 months ago
: There is growing consensus among oncologists and researchers that the continuous onslaught of SARS-CoV-2 infections especially by newer more immune evasive variants and sub-lineages will eventually drive the incidence rate of head and neck cancers globally.
We are not talking about the overwhelmed public healthcare infrastructures caused by COVID-19 that is delaying proper screening and diagnosis of such cancers but rather as SARS-CoV-2 infections being a causative agent itself!
In our past COVID-19 News
coverages during the early part of the pandemic, we already sounded warnings that SARS-CoV-2 could cause cancers!
Head and neck cancer is a medical term used to describe a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth. Typically, most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
Head and neck cancer includes the following cancers besides many others:
-Cancer of the paranasal sinus and
nasal cavity. Cancer cells are found in the tissues in the small hollow spaces around the nose, known as the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is just behind the nose.
-Cancer of the salivary gland. Cancer cells are found in the salivary glands. These glands are found just below the tongue, on the sides of the face in front of the ears, and under the jawbone.
-Cancer of the hypopharynx. Cancer cells are found in the tissues in the bottom part of the throat, behind the voice box.
-Cancer of the nasopharynx.
Cancer cells are found in the tissues of the upper part of the throat, behind the nose.
-Cancer of the oropharynx. Cancer cells are found in the back of the middle part of the throat.
-Cancer of the oral cavity. Cancer cells are found in the oral cavity. These areas include the lips, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the inner lining of the lips and cheeks, the area underneath of the tongue, the roof of the mouth and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.
-Cancer of the larynx. Cancer cells are found in the larynx. Most cancers cells may begin on the mucosal surface, also known as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Certain viruses are already known to increase the risk and also cause head and neck cancers such as the human papillomavirus or HPV (for oropharyngeal cancer) and Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV (for nasopharyngeal cancer). The various herpesviruses and even hepatitis C virus have also been implicated as viral agents contributing to head and neck cancers.
Most head and neck cancers are derived from the mucosal epithelium in the nasal, cavity, oral cavity, pharynx and larynx which happens to be the typical sites that SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the human host!
Past research has already shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can also remain to be persistent in the oral cavity, salivary glands and even in the sinonasal cavity!
Numerous studies have already shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is able to cause damage and inflammation and also disrupt apoptosis (all starting points of cancer)
in the epithelial cells including that of the oral and nasal mucosal tissues.
Interestingly, studies have also confirmed that SARS-CoV-2 downregulates the p53 gene which is a critical cancer protective gene in the human body!
Another tumor suppressor gene p16 that play a role in suppressing head and neck cancers has also been shown to be either downregulated or inhibited by SARS-CoV-2 infections!
The oncogenic genes EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), erb-B, c-myc, the ras gene family including K-ras, raf, int-2, hst- 1, cyclinD1 and bcl- 1 have been found to be associated with head and neck cancers.
Studies have already shown that SARS-CoV-2 upregulates many of these oncogenic genes!
SARS-CoV-2 also causes NK (Natural Killer) T cells which are suppressors of cancer to become exhausted and also dysfunctional, thus increasing the incidence of cancer!
Interestingly, SARS-CoV-2 also causes the reactivations of dormant EBV, Herpesviruses and even HPV, all cancer-causing viruses associated with head and neck cancers!
Interestingly, the incidence of head and neck cancers have started increasing and the projected trends show that it will continues to rise.
The post COVID coughs, difficulty in swallowing, frequent headaches, voice changes, sore throats, ear pains, tingling sensation on your nose, a blocked nose, nose bleeds, decreased sense of smell etc are just the first tell-tale signs of what is coming!
In fact we at Thailand Medical News
envisage that compared to the other viruses such as HPV, EBV and herpesviruses, SARS-CoV-2 will drive accelerated and aggressive head and neck cancers and we also hypothesize that the newer Omicron sub-lineages that are currently emerging and spreading will be even more potent in doing so as not only are they more immune-evasive and promote enhanced viral persistence, they spot numerous concerning mutations in the various ORF proteins that are correlated with either downregulating or damaging tumor suppressor genes and NK cells and are also involved in upregulating various cellular pathways that help promote oncogenesis and also upregulating various oncogenic genes! (A separate article is coming up on this.)
Off course, more detailed studies are urgently warranted to either validate our claims or to dispute it.
However, all our findings contribute to yet another one of our hypotheses that many who are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, only have 5 to 8 years left and that reinfections will also help decrease their lifespans.
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KIndly note that the spike proteins either via normal infections or via so called 'prophylactic' shots also help contribute towards the development of various cancers as already studies have shown how the spike proteins interacts to disrupt the human host immune system and also in terms of causing the disruption or dysfunction of various critical cellular pathways, genes and critical human proteases.