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1 August 2011
Circumcision nixes penile precancerous lesions
by George Atkinson

An international study shows that among African men, circumcision is associated with a lower prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated precancerous lesions of the penis. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that plays a key role in genital cancers in men and women, including cancers of the penis and cervix.

The new findings add to the already compelling case for circumcision in countries with high rates of HIV. "Our data are the first to show that male circumcision may reduce HPV-associated penile precancerous lesions. This represents an additional public health benefit of male circumcision," said study author Jennifer Smith, from the University of North Carolina.

The study found that the percentage of men with HPV-associated precancerous penile lesions was substantially higher among those who were not circumcised - 26 percent - compared to those who were circumcised - 0.7 percent.

"Interventions that reduce HPV-associated penile lesions could be important to both men and women, because such lesions may increase HPV transmission from men to their sexual partners," Smith noted.

The study was part of a larger trial undertaken to determine the effectiveness of male circumcision in reducing HIV incidence conducted by Robert Bailey, of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Circumcision: The Unkindest Cut?
Circumcision found to help prevent HPV infection
Majority of sexually active young adults infected with HPV
Penile bacteria and circumcision

Source: University of North Carolina

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