Background: Some human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are oncogenic in the cervix and are also associated with benign and malignant proliferations in other organs. Currently, the association of HPV with tumors of the lower respiratory tract is not so clearly defined because the studies are difficult to compare; series of cases reported from different geographic regions have used frozen or formalin fixed samples and a variety of techniques of HPV detection.
Methods: The authors studied the prevalence of HPV in a large series of 185 frozen bronchopulmonary tumor samples with a new solution hybridization technique, Hybrid Capture II assay. This test is largely applied in cervical pathology. Its sensitivity is very close to the sensitivity of PCR. It allows the detection of 18 mucosal HPV types, divided into 1 oncogenic and 1 nononcogenic group.
Results: Oncogenic HPV DNA was detected by the Hybrid Capture II assay in 5 cases (2.7%) of 185 (3 males and 2 females). In the rare positive cases detected, the authors could not find any consistent morphologic changes classically associated with HPV infection in anogenital lesions, such as koilocytosis.
Conclusions: Oncogenic HPV DNA is detected in a small proportion of cases of bronchopulmonary carcinoma, and thus HPV infection appears to play a limited role in the tumorigenesis of most lung carcinomas.
Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.