Penile Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Factors

A Contemporary Review

Antoin Douglawi; Timothy A. Masterson


Curr Opin Urol. 2019;29(2):145-149. 

In This Article

Human Papillomavirus

HPV infection has been associated with oropharyngeal, cervical, and penile cancer. Its contribution to cervical neoplasia is well established with nearly 100% of cervical cancers associated with HPV infection.[52,53] Similar results were seen in penile cancer with HPV DNA being present in 42% of patients with penile SqCC overall and in 80–100% of baseloid and warty subtypes.[54,55] The mechanism of oncogenesis can be through direct molecular changes or via premalignant lesions that later undergo malignant transformation.[56] In recent years, deployment of widespread HPV vaccination has seen success in related female malignancies. Contemporary research is examining its efficacy in the male population. A recent systematic review of more than 5000 patients noted an efficacy of 46% against anogenital infection with HVP 16 but the effect on penile cancer prevention could not be determined. They did, however, note that vaccine effectiveness drops markedly in patients already infected with certain HPV subtypes which supports early vaccination in boys when they are HPV naïve.[57]