Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Association Between Human Papillomaviruses and Prostate Cancer?

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Monday, September 14, 2020

According to a systematic review conducted by James S. Lawson, MD, and Wendy K. Glenn, MD, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues, it seems “highly likely” that high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) may have a causal role in prostate cancer. Published in Infections Agents and Cancer, the study’s results suggest that HPV vaccinations should be encouraged.

“Although HPVs are only one of many pathogens that have been identified in prostate cancer, they are the only infectious pathogen we can vaccinate against, which makes it important to assess the evidence of a possible causal role of HPVs in prostate cancer,” said Dr. Lawson in a press release.

The study authors reviewed 26 case-control studies on HPVs and how they might be associated with prostate cancer. They used the classic Austin Bradford Hill causal criteria to assess factors such as the strength of association, consistency, plausibility, and analogy. Studies were sourced from PubMed Central from 1980 to 2020.

The studies showed that a variety of methods have been used to identify HPVs in normal, benign, and malignant prostate tissues around the world. The most commonly identified HPV types were types 16 and 18, which are considered to be high risk for cancer. Of the 26 case-control studies, 8 showed that prostate cancers had a higher prevalence of high-risk HPV DNA than the normal and benign prostate controls. For studies published after 2000, there were 231 HPV-positive of 1,071 prostate cancers and 74 HPV-positive of 1,103 benign prostate controls.

“Previous studies have also shown that high-risk HPVs were present in benign prostate tissues that up to 10 years later developed HPV-positive prostate cancer of the same HPV type,” noted Dr. Glenn in a press release.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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