Study of the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC)

Associate Professor Richard Hillman & Dr Jeff Jin

Gay men are over 20 times more likely than others to develop anal cancer. The study will target men in Sydney who are 35 years of age or older, have had sex with other men, and have not been diagnosed with anal cancer.

The study aims to recruit a total of 1,000 men from community-based settings, 750 HIV negative and 250 HIV positive. Once enrolled, these men will be followed for 3 years. They will undergo scheduled study visits twice a year. The study will use PCR testing to determine type specific HPV infection in the anal canal and use anal cytology and histology analyses to detect precancerous anal lesions. This study will provide important data to guide the possible future introduction of anal cancer screening programs for gay men.

The study is funded by the National Medical and Health Research Council of Australia to run from 2010 to 2014. It is being conducted by Professor Andrew Grulich from the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, A/Prof Richard Hillman from IBAC and the Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre, University of Sydney, and Professor Andrew Carr from Immunology B Ambulatory Care (IBAC), St Vincent’s Hospital.

For more information Jeff Jin can be contacted via or visit the SPANC website.