Purpose: To investigate the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) types, 6, 11, 16 and 18 in corneal and conjunctival carcinoma, we examined 88 dysplastic corneal and conjunctival specimens and 66 controls that had been formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded.
Methods: Sections were graded for histological abnormality by light microscopy and the presence of HPV DNA was determined by polymerase chain reaction using LI consensus primers.
Results: Human papillomavirus DNA was detected in 34 (39%) dysplasias and in five (7.5%) controls. Of dysplasias that were HPV-positive, 20 (59%) contained either types 16 or 18, 13 (38%) contained only types 6/11, while combinations of HPV types were present in 11 (32%). A histological correlation was found with HPV positivity (all genotypes) and unusually large ('epithelioid') dysplastic cells.
Conclusion: The present study demonstrates a lower incidence of HPV in corneal and conjunctival carcinoma than previously reported, but shows an unexpectedly high incidence of HPV 6/11 in conjunctival carcinomas.