Background: The relationship between sinonasal inverted papilloma (IP) and various strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) has been examined previously. Yet there is little consensus regarding the incidence or role of HPV in IP. The possible role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which, like HPV, is a DNA virus linked to human lymphoid and epithelial malignancies, was investigated.
Methods: The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect EBV genomic sequences in surgical specimens of IP, in benign nasal polyps, and various control tissues. The IP specimens were similarly examined for the presence of HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18.
Results: EBV DNA was found in 13 of 20 IP specimens (65%) and none of the 10 control tissues. Nine of the 20 specimens contained HPV DNA, and 5 of 20 specimens contained both EBV and HPV.
Conclusions: These results imply a previously unsuspected role for Epstein-Barr virus in the pathogenesis of sinonasal inverted papilloma.