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Semin Diagn Pathol. 2012 May;29(2):67-71.

The role of human papillomavirus infection in the pathogenesis of penile squamous cell carcinomas.

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Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Emerging evidence suggests that penile cancer follows 2 etiologic pathways, 1 related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and the other related to other factors including phimosis, chronic inflammation, and lichen sclerosus. HPV DNA is found in 47% to 48% of all penile tumors, and most of these cases correspond to high-risk genotypes, preferentially HPV-16. HPV status is associated with histologic subtype, with higher detection ratios in warty-basaloid carcinomas and lower detection ratios in keratinizing variants (ie, verrucous, papillary, and usual squamous cell carcinomas). It is the cell type, rather than a distinctive architecture, that is more strongly associated with HPV presence. The detection ratio is higher in tumors composed entirely or partially of cells with basaloid features. In addition, a few studies have evaluated the impact of HPV infection on the prognosis of patients with penile cancer. However, results are controversial, and more data are needed to clarify this matter. A proper understanding of the role of HPV in penile carcinogenesis might help in planning intervention strategies such as vaccination against HPV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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