Scientists find firm link between the disease and sexually transmitted virus for the first time
- Findings suggest the HPV vaccine might help lower the risk of prostate cancer
- Researchers based in Australia compiled all the results from 26 previous studies
- HPV already causes certain cancers in men, including tumours of the genitals
Prostate cancer has been convincingly linked to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) for the first time.
Experts have found evidence that a significant number of prostate cancer cases are ‘highly likely’ to have been caused by the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women. And they say it may be transmitted to the gland through sex.
Writing in the Infectious Agents and Cancer journal, they concluded: ‘A causal role for HPVs in prostate cancer is highly likely.’
Prostate cancer, which kills 12,000 men in Britain each year, has previously been linked to genetics, environmental pollutants and lifestyle factors.
But the researchers said: ‘Although HPVs are only one of many pathogens identified in prostate cancer, they are the only infectious pathogen which can be prevented by vaccination.’
The team found 22 per cent of prostate cancerous tissue contained traces of HPV, compared with only 7 per cent of benign prostates.