Cutaneous human papillomaviruses persist on healthy skin

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Jan;127(1):116-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700570. Epub 2006 Oct 5.


Cutaneous human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are frequently found in healthy skin and have also been implicated in non-melanoma skin cancer. For genital HPV types, a persistent infection with one of the high-risk types is a prerequisite for the development of cervical cancer. However, there is only limited data on whether infections with cutaneous HPV types persist over time. Serial forehead swab samples collected from 63 volunteers (42 healthy individuals and 31 renal transplant recipients (RTRs)), sampled 6.3 years (range: 5.0-7.0 years) apart, were analyzed for HPV using general primer PCR, cloning, and sequencing. Among the healthy individuals, the prevalences of HPV were 69% (29/42) at enrolment and 71% (30/42) at follow-up. Among the individuals positive at baseline, 48% (14/29) had a persistent infection. Among the RTRs, 71% (15/21) were positive for HPV at enrolment and 90% (19/21) at follow-up. A persistent infection was detected in 33% (5/15). In total, HPV was detected in 44 of the samples collected at baseline and the same virus was found at follow-up in 43% (19/44). Persistence was not significantly associated with age, sex, immunosuppressive treatment, history of warts, or genus of HPV. We conclude that cutaneous HPV infections commonly persist over several years on healthy skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin / virology*


  • DNA, Viral

Associated data

  • GENBANK/DQ418463
  • GENBANK/DQ418464
  • GENBANK/DQ418465
  • GENBANK/DQ418466
  • GENBANK/DQ418467
  • GENBANK/DQ418468
  • GENBANK/DQ418469
  • GENBANK/DQ418470
  • GENBANK/DQ418471
  • GENBANK/DQ418472
  • GENBANK/DQ418473
  • GENBANK/DQ418474
  • GENBANK/DQ418475
  • GENBANK/DQ418476
  • GENBANK/DQ418477