Potential link between HPV and bladder cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

A study has found that the human papillomavirus (HPV), certain strains of which are known to cause cervical cancer, may also cause bladder cancer.

Researchers at the University of Granada and San Cecilio Hospital conducted a review of 44 existing studies on the subject in order to establish whether or not there was a relationship between bladder cancer and HPV.

Of the articles reviewed, 39 had looked for the presence of DNA, while the remaining seven had looked for tell-tale signs of HPV infection in the blood.

They found that the data suggested a link between HPV and bladder cancer.

The researchers also found that there is a possible link between HPV and ovarian cancer, although Jose Gutierrez Fernandez, one of the researchers at the university's Department of Microbiology, noted: "In order to draw a final conclusion, it is necessary to carry out a study with a sufficient number of cases and samples in which a combination of several microbiological techniques is applied to the same subject and sample".

In addition, the researchers noted that patients may have started to develop ovarian cancer before being exposed to HPV, rather than the virus causing the cancer.

Dr Kat Arney, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "We already know that HPV is linked to a number of different types of cancer, including cervical cancer.

"The suggestion that the virus may contribute to bladder cancer is certainly intriguing, and larger studies need to be done to confirm this link.

"It's also not clear whether HPV can directly cause bladder cancer, or if it is just more likely to infect people with this type of cancer. It's important to remember that the main preventable cause of bladder cancer is smoking."