Background: Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) primarily sort into 3 genera: Alphapapillomavirus (α-HPV), predominantly isolated from mucosa, and Betapapillomavirus (β-HPV) and Gammapapillomavirus (γ-HPV), predominantly isolated from skin. HPV types might infect body sites that are different from those from which they were originally isolated.
Methods: We investigated the spectrum of HPV type distribution in oral rinse samples from 2 populations: 52 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive men and women and 317 men who provided a sample for genomic DNA for a prostate cancer study. HPV types were detected with the MY09/MY11 and FAP59/64 primer systems and identified by dot blot hybridization and/or direct sequencing.
Results: Oral rinse specimens from 35 (67%) of 52 HIV-positive individuals and 117 (37%) of 317 older male participants tested positive for HPV DNA. We found 117 type-specific HPV infections from the HIV-positive individuals, including 73 α-HPV, 33 β-HPV, and 11 γ-HPV infections; whereas, the distribution was 46 α-HPV, 108 β-HPV, and 14 γ-HPV infections from 168 type-specific infections from the 317 male participants.
Conclusions: The oral cavity contains a wide spectrum of HPV types predominantly from the β-HPV and γ-HPV genera, which were previously considered to be cutaneous types. These results could have significant implications for understanding the biology of HPV and the epidemiological associations of HPV with oral and skin neoplasia.