Background: Substantial clinical, epidemiologic, and experimental evidence has reinforced the role of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types in the development of cervical carcinoma. The authors investigated HPV in the uterine cervix squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas of Finnish patients.
Methods: Specimens from 352 patients with uterine cervix squamous cell carcinomas and 108 with adenocarcinoma were examined for HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction. The authors used consensus primers located in the L1 region, as well as HPV16, 18, and 33 type-specific primers located in the E6 region.
Results: HPV DNA was detected in 324 of 352 squamous cell carcinomas (92%), and 81 of 108 adenocarcinomas (75%). Two-hundred seventy-four of 352 squamous cell carcinomas (78%) and 18 of 108 adenocarcinomas (17%) contained HPV16 DNA, whereas 55 of 352 squamous cell carcinomas (16%) and 60 of 108 adenocarcinomas (56%) contained HPV18 DNA. Eight squamous cell carcinomas and 4 adenocarcinomas were positive for HPV33. Twenty-eight squamous cell carcinomas and 5 adenocarcinomas were positive for either HPV16 and HPV18 or HPV16 and HPV33. Unclassified HPV DNA was detected in 17 squamous cell carcinomas and 4 adenocarcinomas. Twenty-eight squamous cell carcinomas and 9 adenocarcinomas, which were positive for E6 DNA using type-specific primers, were negative for the L1 gene. All 460 cervical specimens were tested twice with identical results.
Conclusions: HPV DNA was highly prevalent in both uterine cervix squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. HPV16 was detected more often in squamous cell carcinoma and HPV18 was detected more often in adenocarcinoma. Both consensus structural L1 gene-derived primers and type-specific viral E6 oncogene-derived primers were necessary to detect HPV DNA in cervical carcinoma.