Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are a large group of DNA viruses that infect the basal cells of the stratified epithelium at different anatomic locations. In the ocular adnexal region, the mucosa of the conjunctiva and the lacrimal drainage system, as well as the eyelid skin, are potential locations for HPV-related neoplasia. The role of HPV in squamous cell neoplasia of the ocular adnexa has been debated for several decades. Due to the rarity of all these tumors, large studies are not available in the scientific literature, thereby hampering the precision of the HPV prevalence estimates and the ability to conclude. Nevertheless, increasing evidence supports that defined subsets of conjunctival papillomas, intraepithelial neoplasia, and carcinomas develop in an HPV-dependent pathway. The role of HPV in squamous cell tumors arising in the lacrimal drainage system and the eyelid is still uncertain. Further, the potential of HPV status as a diagnostic, prognostic, or predictive biomarker in these diseases is a topic for future research.
Keywords: conjunctiva; eyelids; human papillomavirus; lacrimal drainage system; ocular adnexa; sebaceous cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma; squamous cell papilloma.