Human papillomavirus and skin tags: is there any association?

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. May-Jun 2008;74(3):222-5. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.39585.


Background: Low-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are related to the genesis of various benign lesions. In an isolated report available, HPVs have been implicated in the causation of skin tags too.

Aims: The present study was designed to detect the existence of low-risk HPV types 6 and 11 in cutaneous soft fibromas (skin tag) in north Indians.

Methods: A total of 37 cases of skin tags from various sites were analyzed. Highly sensitive and comprehensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assays were done for the detection of low-risk HPV types 6 and 11.

Results: The results revealed the presence of HPV DNA 6/11 in 48.6% of the skin tags examined by PCR-RFLP.

Conclusion: This result corroborates the hypothesis that HPV plays a part in the etiology of benign lesions like cutaneous soft fibromas. The identification of HPV 6/11 in these lesions, which are benign proliferations of the skin, further expands the spectrum of HPV-linked lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Female
  • Fibroma / virology*
  • Human papillomavirus 11 / genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 11 / isolation & purification*
  • Human papillomavirus 6 / genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 6 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Skin Neoplasms / virology*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • DNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins