Systematic review of human papillomavirus prevalence in invasive penile cancer

Danielle M. Backes, Robert J. Kurman, Jeanne M. Pimenta, Jennifer S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations


Objective: Type-specific prevalence data of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in penile carcinoma are needed to determine the potential impact of HPV prophylactic vaccines, assuming demonstrated efficacy in men. Methods: A review was conducted using search terms including HPV and penile cancer. Studies using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for HPV DNA detection in invasive penile carcinoma were included. Results: A total of 1,266 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cases contributed data from 30 studies. The number of SCC was similar in Europe (28.2%), North America (27.6%), South America (23.9%) and Asia (20.4%). All SCC were histologically confirmed with biopsies for DNA detection. Most commonly used PCR primers were type-specific (35.2%), and combination PCR (18.2%). HPV prevalence was 47.9%, ranging from 22.4% in verrucous SCC to 66.3% for the basaloid/warty subtypes. HPV16 (30.8%), HPV6 (6.7%) and HPV18 (6.6%) were the most prevalent types. HPV16 and/or HPV 18 prevalence was 36.7%. Conclusions: HPV DNA was detected in half of SCC, with HPV16 being the most common type. If proven efficacious in men, prophylactic vaccines targeting carcinogenic types HPV16 and 18 could potentially reduce approximately one-third of incident SCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-457
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Etiology
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Penile cancer
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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