Human papillomavirus genotype detection and viral load in paired genital and urine samples from both females and males

J Med Virol. 2011 Oct;83(10):1744-51. doi: 10.1002/jmv.22167.


The ability to detect type-specific high risk HPV (HR-HPV) infections in samples from females and males is important for monitoring the epidemiology of HPV and the impact of vaccination. Type-specific detection concordance between paired urine and genital samples from females (n = 264) undergoing routine colposcopy and males (n = 88) attending a genito-urinary medicine clinic was evaluated using an in-house genotyping assay. The overall inter-rater agreement (κ) was 0.781 for female pairs and 0.346 for male pairs. Female urine had sensitivity for detection of HPV16/18 and HR-HPV of 75% and 84%, respectively, while male urine had sensitivities of 13% and 28%, respectively. Genital samples had a higher HPV DNA copy number than urine although a small proportion (10%) of urine samples had a higher copy number than the corresponding genital sample. The proportion of females with normal cytology positive for HPV16/18 was 19%, increasing to 57% in moderate or severely dyskaryotic samples. The same trend was seen in the corresponding urine (19-43%) compounded by the reduced sensitivity of this sample type. The HPV16 viral load in female genital samples, but not in urine, was weakly associated with cervical disease stage. Despite reduced sensitivity, urine appears to be an appropriate surrogate sample for type-specific HPV detection in females for epidemiological objectives. The lower sensitivity and lack of association between viral load and disease stage in urine suggest that urine may not be useful for clinical management of HPV infection. The utility of urine for type-specific detection in males is less certain.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus / classification*
  • Alphapapillomavirus / genetics*
  • DNA, Viral / urine
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / virology*
  • Genitalia, Male / virology*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urine / virology*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / virology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Viral Load


  • DNA, Viral