Morphological characteristics of conjunctival squamous papillomas in relation to human papillomavirus infection

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ObjectiveTo determine the prevalence of a broad spectrum of human papillomavirus (HPV) types in conjunctival papillomas and a possible difference in clinical and histopathological presentation of HPV-positive and HPV-negative papillomas.MethodsFormalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded papilloma tissue specimens obtained from 25 patients were analysed using six different PCR-based methods targeting 87 HPV types from four different papillomavirus (PV) genera: α-PV, β-PV, γ-PV and µ-PV, and in situ hybridisation for HPV-6/HPV-11. Slides were reviewed for pedunculated or sessile growth, the presence of goblet cells, keratinising or non-keratinising epithelium, elastosis, atypia and koilocytes.Resultsα-PV types HPV-6 and HPV-11 were detected in 19/25 (76%) conjunctival papilloma tissue specimens, 9 (47%) of which were also HPV-6/HPV-11 positive with in situ hybridisation. Six different β-PV types—HPV-9, HPV-12, HPV-20, HPV-21, HPV-22, HPV-24—were additionally detected in four cases, all of which were also HPV-6/HPV-11 positive. No γ-PVs or µ-PVs were found in any of the tested tissues samples. Extralimbal location (p=0.021), presence of goblet cells (p=0.005), non-keratinising squamous epithelium (p=0.005), and absence of elastosis (p=0.005) were associated with the presence of HPV-6/HPV-11.ConclusionsWe demonstrated that certain clinical and histological features are more frequently associated with HPV infection and that HPV genera other than α-PV are most probably not significant factors in conjunctival papilloma occurrence.

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