Human papillomavirus type spectrum in normal skin of individuals with or without a history of frequent sun exposure.

Research paper by Alice Che-Ha AC Chen, Nigel A J NA McMillan, Annika A Antonsson

Indexed on: 22 Oct '08Published on: 22 Oct '08Published in: The Journal of general virology


Cutaneous human papillomavirus (HPV) has been widely detected in healthy skin. Previous studies have found that UV radiation can activate several HPV types, and a possible role for cutaneous HPV in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer has been suggested. This study investigated the prevalence and type-spectrum of cutaneous HPV in relation to UV radiation by studying forehead skin swab samples from 50 healthy males frequently exposed to the sun and 50 healthy males who were not frequently exposed to the sun. A questionnaire including ethnic background of the participants, history of cancers and a self-assessment of sun-exposure was also conducted and analysed. PCR with the FAP primer pair was carried out to detect HPV DNA in samples. HPV prevalence was higher in individuals who spent more time outdoors and in individuals with a history of skin cancers (P=0.044 and P=0.04, respectively). Furthermore, individuals wearing sunglasses as a means of sun protection had a lower prevalence of HPV (P=0.018). Interestingly, HPV-76 was only detected in the group without frequent sun-exposure (P=0.001). These results suggest that increased UV radiation exposure may be a factor leading to a difference in prevalence of cutaneous HPV types.