Washington, DC, May 14, 2011 – The male foreskin may be a reservoir for human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts, suggesting that boys – in addition to girls – should consider vaccination to prevent later transfer through sexual contact, according to researchers from Innsbruck Medical University in Austria. The study will be presented during the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, and will be presented to the media on Tuesday, May 17 at 11:30 a.m. AUA Spokesperson Kevin McVary, MD will moderate the session for media.
There are many types of HPV, which are classified as either at low- or high-risk of causing diseases, such as cancer of the cervix and other areas of the body. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.
Researchers in Austria examined anonymized foreskins of 133 males – between seven months and 82 years old without clinical HPV-associated warts – who had undergone radical circumcision for phimosis. Researchers extracted DNA from 40 tissue sections to assess the prevalence of HPV and found low-risk HPV genotypes in 18.8 percent of the examined foreskins and high-risk HPV in 9.77 percent. None of the patients had clinical symptoms of disease.
“While vaccinations in girls for HPV is now accepted medical practice to prevent HPV infection, this study suggests the novel of idea of vaccinating boys prior to puberty as well,” Dr. McVary said. “The presence of subclinical HPV in boys and men suggests this may be an effective way to help prevent HPV transmitted by sexual contact.”
NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times. To arrange an interview with an expert, please contact the AUA Communications Office at the number above or e-mail Communications@AUAnet.org.
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 17,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.
Wendy Waldsachs Isett, AUA