Cutaneous human papillomaviruses found in sun-exposed skin: Beta-papillomavirus species 2 predominates in squamous cell carcinoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. A spectrum of cutaneous human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is detectable in nonmelanoma skin cancers, as well as in healthy skin, but the significance that the presence of these types of HPV DNA has for the pathogenesis of skin cancer remains unclear. Methods. We studied 349 nonimmunosuppressed patients with skin lesions (82 with squamous cell carcinomas, 126 with basal cell carcinomas, 49 with actinic keratoses, and 92 with benign lesions). After superficial skin had been removed by tape, paired biopsy samples-from the lesion and from healthy skin from the same patient-were tested for HPV DNA. Risk factors for HPV DNA were analyzed in multivariate models. Results. Overall, 12% of healthy skin samples were positive for HPV DNA, compared with 26% of benign lesions, 22% of actinic keratoses, 18% of basal cell carcinomas, and 26% of squamous cell carcinomas. HPV DNA was associated with sites extensively exposed to the sun, both for the lesions (odds ratio [OR], 4.45 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 2.44-8.111) and for the healthy skin samples (OR, 3.65 [95% CI 1.79-7.44]). HPV types of Beta-papillomavirus species 2 predominate in squamous cell carcinomas (OR, 4.40 [95% CI, 1.92-10.06]), whereas HPV types of Beta-papillomavirus species 1 are primarily found in benign lesions (OR, 3.47 [95% CI, 1.72-6.99]). Conclusions. Cutaneous HPV types are primarily detected at sites extensively exposed to the sun. HPV types of Beta-papillomavirus species 2, but not of species 1, are associated with squamous cell carcinoma.


  • Ola Forslund
  • Thomas Iftner
  • Kristin Andersson
  • Bernt Lindelof
  • Eva Hradil
  • Peter Nordin
  • Bo Stenquist
  • Reinhard Kirnbauer
  • Joakim Dillner
  • Ethel-Michele de Villiers
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-883
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

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