In studying the relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) and bronchogenic carcinoma, "high-risk" HPV 16, 18 DNA sequences were detected in samples from 50 lung cancer patients, 18 patients with benign pulmonary diseases and 4 fetal lung tissues by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and dot-blot hybridization with biotin-labelled probes. The results showed that HPV 16, 18 DNA related sequences were found in 32% of lung cancer specimens, with 10 cases of HPV 16, 5 cases of HPV 18 and 1 case of both types. 48.15% (13/27) of squamous cell carcinomas were shown to be positive for HPV 16, 18 DNA. In addition, two adenocarcinomas and one small cell carcinoma were positive for HPV 16 DNA. No specimens from benign diseases tissues and fetal lung tissues showed positive results. These results suggest that primary bronchogenic carcinoma is related to HPV infection.