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HPV associated with flat lesions on penis
  By Will Boggs, MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Human papilloma virus (HPV) is associated with flat penile lesions that are more common and larger in size in partners of women with HPV-related cervical disease, according to a report in the January 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.
Earlier studies have reported a wide spectrum of penile lesions associated with HPV, the authors explain, but these studies have mainly been restricted to sexually transmitted disease clinic patients and partners of women with HPV-associated disease.
"We know that this virus is sexually transmitted, but we did not know where and how the virus was present on the penis," Dr. Chris J. L. M. Meijer from VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam told Reuters Health.
Dr. Meijer and colleagues therefore investigated the prevalence of HPV and HPV-associated penile lesions in 156 male outpatients at a non-STD clinic and in 238 male sexual partners of women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Among male hospital patients, 14.3% had flat penile lesions, the authors report. About a third of these men had lesions affecting more than 5 square millimeters of the penile epithelium.
In contrast, the results indicate, 60.4% of male partners of women with CIN had flat penile lesions, and three quarters of these men had lesions affecting more than 5 square millimeters.
HPV DNA was detected more than twice as often in penile scrapes of the partners of women with CIN (59.4%) than in the male outpatient population (25.3%), the researchers note, and the high-risk type HPV 16 was more frequently detected in the partners of women with CIN (46.5% versus 19.0%, respectively).
Median HPV load was more than four times higher in partners of women with CIN (5.0 copies/cell) than in the male outpatient population (1.2 copies/cell), the results indicate.
By this and other studies, "we think we have convincingly demonstrated that these lesions are the ones that are associated with transmission for HPV," Dr. Meijer said.
"As far as we can extrapolate from our study, only a very small part (less than 1%) of these lesions will become malignant," Dr. Meijer added. "Most of these lesions will heal by themselves. But the healing time differs (from 8 months to 14 months). This depends on the presence of HPV...and use of condoms."
"We have looked for the influence of condom use on flat penile lesions and are investigating whether there is a relationship between...penile HPV type in men and cervical HPV type in women," Dr. Meijer said. "Furthermore, we are investigating the relation between certain HPV types and duration of the lesion."
Int J Cancer 2005;113:36-41.

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