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Urology. 2003 Jun;61(6):1098-101.

Cytologic detection of human papillomavirus DNA in normal male urethral samples.

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  • 1Institut de Recherches sur les Pathologies des Organes GĂ©nitaux, Paris, France.



To quantify the existence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection without detectable lesions in the male urethra, and to verify the sensitivity and specificity of ureteral cytology. We compared the results of clinical and colposcopic examinations, ureteral cytology, and HPV DNA testing by polymerase chain reaction amplification in the male partners of women with genital HPV disease.


A total of 110 cytobrush samples of urethral cells from male sexual partners of women with genital HPV-associated lesions were analyzed by cytology and for virologic detection of HPV 6/11, 42, 16/18 by polymerase chain reaction followed by Southern blot hybridization. The results were correlated with the presence or absence of genital HPV-associated lesions.


HPV DNA was detected in 1 sample (3%) from men without visible lesions, in 5 samples (15%) from men with penile lesions but without urethral lesions, and in 16 men with urethral lesions (78%). Cytology showed cellular changes suggesting HPV infection in 81% of men with urethral lesions, but also in 15% of men without lesions.


Our results show that HPV-DNA positivity in the absence of clinically or colposcopically detected lesions is a rare event. Although sensitive enough, cytology is not specific, and its use as a screening tool may lead to a high number of false-positive results.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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