Background: Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) is a rare skin disease characterized by disseminated pityriasis versicolor-like or flat wart-like lesions and by the development of skin carcinomas. It is well established that specific cutaneous human papillomaviruses (EV-HPVs) are associated with both benign and malignant skin lesions in EV patients. However, little is known of the relationship between HPV and the mucosal lesions of EV patients.
Objectives: To detect and identify HPV types associated with skin and mucosal lesions of an EV patient.
Patient/methods: We investigated the skin carcinoma and the coexisting tonsillar carcinoma of a 41-year-old man with EV. Histopathologically, both lesions were squamous cell carcinomas. We analysed these two lesions by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and by molecular virology.
Results: Neither skin nor tonsillar lesions exhibited positivity for HPV capsid antigen by immunohistochemistry. By Southern blot hybridization, however, the skin carcinoma harboured 'EV-specific' HPV20 DNA, while the tonsillar carcinoma harboured 'genital' HPV16 DNA. In addition, in situ hybridization localized the respective viral DNA in the corresponding lesion.
Conclusions: The results indicate that EV-HPV could be responsible for the development of the skin carcinoma, but not the mucosal carcinoma in this patient.