Human papillomavirus (HPV) – importance for men

Epidemiology and pathogenesis
Besides breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. In the European Union, there are 25,000 deaths from HPV every year. In contrast, there are no general figures on the rates of HPV infection in men. The reason for this lack is the absence of regular screening examinations in men’s health care. It is now regarded as a fact that cervical cancer is triggered by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The human form of the papillomavirus has a special affinity to squamous epithelia and is closely linked with the terminal differentiation of the epidermis of the vulva, perineum, vagina, cervix and anus in its replication. In addition to other forms of transmission, sexual contact with HPV-infected partners is considered to be the most common cause of infection. Up to 70 % of the male partners of women who have tested positive in HPV screening are also infected, although these infections usually only result only in very small lesions on the penis. Men are therefore often not aware that they have been infected with the HP-Virus and do not notice it, but they are nonetheless carriers of the disease.

Nowadays, HPV diagnostics is performed using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), providing additional information on the carcinogenic potential of the persistent infection along with a diagnosis of HPV infection. These amplified gene segments are identified and differentiated by a hybridisation reaction with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes that are immobilised on a DNA chip.

Sample Extraction

  • Urethral swabs: Swabs should only be taken using the special swab (flocked urogenital swabs available on request via the laboratory).
    Instructions for taking samples can be requested from the laboratory.

Storing samples
Short periods at room temperature, but better when refrigerated at 2-8 ºC.
Send the sample to the laboratory as soon as possible.