Failure to demonstrate human papillomavirus DNA in epithelial ovarian cancer by general primer PCR

Gynecol Oncol. 1999 Mar;72(3):337-41. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1998.5264.


One of the recent controversies with substantial clinical interest is the role of HPV in pathogenesis of ovarian cancer. The available highly conflicting data are based on analysis of 175 ovarian carcinomas so far. As an attempt to further elucidate this issue, the first systematic study of HPV detection in ovarian cancer was carried out using a highly sensitive general primer PCR (confirmed by hybridization for low- and high-risk HPV types separately) in a series of 98 histologically and clinically well-characterized epithelial ovarian malignancies. Despite the high (fg) sensitivity and a wide HPV type coverage of the technique used, all 98 ovarian carcinomas failed to demonstrate any signs of HPV DNA whatsoever. The preexisting 12 reports comprising a total of 175 ovarian tumors analyzed for HPV were summarized, giving highly discrepant results (i.e., detection rates from 0 to 100%) with the overall HPV DNA detection rate of 25.7%. The reasons for these discrepant findings are most probably technical. Our data are consistent with those of the majority of the most recent reports failing to disclose HPV DNA in ovarian neoplasia. The present completely negative results make the authors inclined to conclude that HPV is highly unlikely to play any causal role in the pathogenesis of epithelial ovarian neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / virology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes, HPV
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes, HPV
  • DNA, Viral