Background: Cutaneous warts have a cure rate after therapy of no more than approximately 50%. Recently, we developed and validated a standard assessment tool for warts (Cutaneous WARTS diagnostic tool, CWARTS) based on phenotypical characteristics.
Objectives: To assess whether patient and morphological wart characteristics predict the human papillomavirus (HPV) type in a specific wart and whether these characteristics as well as the HPV type predict a favourable treatment response.
Methods: Photographs were used to score nine morphological wart characteristics using the newly developed CWARTS tool. Genotyping of 23 wart-associated HPV types was performed using the hyperkeratotic skin lesion-polymerase chain reaction/multiplex genotyping assay. The results were correlated with a favourable response to treatment with monochloroacetic acid, cryotherapy or a combination of cryotherapy and salicylic acid. Odds ratios were calculated using logistic regression in a generalized estimating equations model.
Results: Black dots (capillary thrombosis) strongly predicted the presence of any HPV type in a wart. From all characteristics tested, the HPV type most strongly predicted the treatment response when the warts were treated with monochloroacetic acid or a combination of cryotherapy and salicylic acid with a significantly decreased treatment response if the warts contained HPVs of the alpha genus (HPV2, HPV27 or HPV57). When cryotherapy alone was used for common warts, HPV type did not play a role, but cryotherapy was less effective in the presence of callus and when the wart was located deeper in the skin.
Conclusions: Morphological characteristics of the warts and the HPV genotype influence treatment outcome and thus potentially influence future treatment decisions for common and plantar warts.
© 2017 The Authors. British Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists.