We analyzed 88 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded invasive squamous carcinomas for human papillomavirus-related DNA sequences (HPV types 16 and 18) following in vitro gene amplification using the polymerase chain reaction. HPV DNA sequences were found in 35 of 50 (70%) carcinomas of the anogenital region, including four of four (100%) anal, six of eight (75%) vulvar, nine of 14 (64%) vaginal, two of five (40%) penile, and 14 of 19 (74%) cervical tumors. Nine of 25 (36%) oropharyngeal squamous carcinomas contained HPV DNA sequences, including four of 10 (40%) laryngeal, three of eight (38%) buccal, and two of seven (29%) glossal tumors. HPV DNA sequences were not found in 13 esophageal carcinomas. Of the 44 cases that contained viral DNA, HPV-16 was detected in 41 cases (93%) and HPV-18 in five cases (11%), while both types were found in two cases (one anal and one vulvar). HPV DNA sequences were found in 43 of 83 (52%) nonverrucous and in one of five (20%) verrucous carcinomas, but this difference was not significant. These findings demonstrate that HPV DNA sequences are more frequently associated with anogenital than oropharyngeal squamous carcinomas and can be readily detected in routinely processed tissues using the polymerase chain reaction.