External anogenital lesions in organ transplant recipients. A clinicopathologic and virologic assessment

Arch Dermatol. 1997 Feb;133(2):175-8.


Background and design: In a series of patients treated at a university department of dermatology, we assessed the clinicopathologic features of external anogenital lesions in organ transplant recipients. For 6 years, 1002 recipients with various dermatologic problems underwent assessment for the presence of proliferative external anogenital lesions; these lesions were examined histologically and virologically for the presence of human papillomaviruses (HPV).

Results: Twenty-three patients (2.3%) presented with anogenital lesions, women being more often involved. Clinicopathologic examination revealed 18 anogenital warts, 3 cases of bowenoid papulosis, 1 giant condyloma, and 1 in situ carcinoma. Other viral coinfections were frequent. The lesions were extensive and refractory to treatment in 13 patients, but lesions in 7 were cured alter the immunosuppressive treatment was tapered of discontinued. Dysplastic changes were frequent on histologic examination. Twenty-one lesions contained HPV; 6 of 13 patients with HPV DNA in their lesions harbored oncogenic types that predominated in dysplastic lesions. In some patients, the same HPV types were detected within cutaneous and anogenital lesions, suggesting self-contamination.

Conclusions: External anogenital lesions are more rare than cutaneous lesions in organ transplant recipients. These lesions may represent a marker of immunosuppression, especially when they are extensive. Their clinical aspect is often misleading; furthermore, because of the presence of dysplastic histologic aspects and oncogenic HPV types, they could be susceptible to malignant transformation, necessitating regular surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anus Diseases / etiology
  • Anus Diseases / pathology*
  • Anus Diseases / virology*
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology
  • Genital Diseases, Female / pathology*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / virology*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / etiology
  • Genital Diseases, Male / pathology*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*