Association of human papillomavirus infections with cutaneous tumors in immunosuppressed patients

Transpl Int. 2003 Mar;16(3):146-53. doi: 10.1007/s00147-002-0525-7. Epub 2003 Feb 6.


Besides immunosuppression and UV radiation, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was also suggested to be involved in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer, the most common malignancy after transplantation. In this study we used a comprehensive PCR assay to analyze the prevalence of individual HPV types in different skin lesions from transplant and non-transplant patients. HPV DNA was detected more frequently in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of transplant recipients (75%) than the same lesion was in non-immunosuppressed patients (47%). Similar HPV prevalences were found in cutaneous warts (91% vs 94%), pre-malignant skin tumors (38% vs 36%), and normal skin specimens (17% vs 16%) of both patient populations. Overall, more than 40 different HPV types were identified. HPV types 5 and 8 were found more frequently in SCCs (26%) than in pre-cancerous (5%) or benign lesions (1%). All HPV 5- and HPV 8-positive SCCs were from immunosuppressed patients, indicating that infection with HPV 5 and HPV 8 may present an increased risk of SCC development in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / virology*
  • Transplantation Immunology*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications*


  • DNA Primers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents