HPV link to Prostate Cancer: use HPV vaccine to prevent PCa ?

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.16 Published online 5 February 2015

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Higher incidence of high-risk HPV in prostate cancer

Researchers have found that the incidence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is significantly higher in prostate cancer samples than in controls. The finding supports the hypothesis that HPV might have a possible role in the development or progression of prostate cancer1.

In the first study of the kind in India, the researchers compared 95 prostate tumour biopsies with 55 benign prostate hyperplasia samples used as controls. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with consensus primers indicated that 41% of the tumours had an HPV infection as opposed to 20% in the controls.

Subsequent PCR with type-specific primers showed that a majority of these prostate tumours had high-risk HPV infections (77% with HPV type 16 and 15% with type 18) while the low-risk type were more frequent in the controls (64% with HPV type 6 or type 11).

The researchers also found that a higher proportion of later stage tumours were HPV infected. Also, a higher proportion of poorly differentiated tumours had an HPV infection.

Almost all cervical cancers are attributed to HPV infection, in particular, the high-risk types 16 and 18. One of the authors of the study Mausumi Bharadwaj says if HPV infection is one of the co-factors in prostate cancer development in India, then approved HPV vaccines could also be used to control prostate cancer in the population.

References

1. Singh, N et al. Implication of high risk Human papillomavirus HR-HPV infection in prostate cancer in Indian population -- A pioneering case-control analysis. Sci Rep. (2015). doi: 10.1038/srep07822

2 Replies

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  • if this pans out think of how much suffering will be prevented--good luck to these researchers!

  • It's a bit frustrating trying to quantify HPV-PCa risk, since a number of important studies find no association at all.  In a study that came out of the the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), involving 616 PCa cases & 616 matched controls:

    "HPV does not appear to be associated with risk of prostate cancer"

    In a large Nordic study invoving 804 PCa cases, with 4 controls per case:

    "The joint HPV-16/HPV-18/HPV-33 seroprevalence in the joint cohort was 13.4% (107 of 799) among cases and 14.0% (363 of 2,596) among controls ..."

    Nevertheless, a "worldwide" meta-analysis [3] "of 46 studies with 4919 prostate cancer cases" concluded that: "HPV infections may contribute to the risk of prostate cancer."

    The HPV vaccine has been controversial because it (a) protects against a sexually transmitted infection, & therefore, quite logically (b) targets kids at an age where they are assumed to not yet be sexually active.  Many parents are uncomfortable with their kids being treated for a future STD, & at an age where they would rather not discuss it with them anyway.

    & parents of boys are not particularly enthusiastic about their sons being exposed to the risks of the vaccine, for the benefit of others (i.e. against cervical cancer).  But the vaccine also protects against throat cancer due to oral sex.  (Anal cancer too.)

    I was reading a headline recently about the disappointing participation rate of boys (in the U.S.), but I'm surprised to find that it is better than 40%.  "(33.6% in 2013 vs 41.7% in 2014)" according to the CDC.  That has got to make a big difference if HPV turns out to be a significant player in PCa.  We'll find out in fifty years.  LOL.

    -Patrick

    [1] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    [2] cebp.aacrjournals.org/conte...

    [3] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

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