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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1992 Jan;33(1):184-9.

Human papillomavirus DNA in tissues and ocular surface swabs of patients with conjunctival epithelial neoplasia.

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Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90033.


DNA from human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 has been recently identified in conjunctival epithelial dysplasia and carcinoma. In other body sites, HPV 16 is thought to play a role in the development of dysplastic lesions. To further explore the relationship between HPV and conjunctival neoplasia, we examined paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 42 biopsies or excisions from 38 patients whose lesions ranged from mild dysplasia to infiltrating squamous carcinoma of the conjunctiva. We also examined limbal swabs from six patients with dysplasia or carcinoma, five of whom also had tissue samples available for study. HPV 16 DNA was present in 37 (88.1%) tissue samples, including duplicate samples from four patients. Five (83.3%) of six patients who had conjunctival swabs had HPV 16 DNA present in the swabs, including two patients whose lesions had been excised one and eight years before swabs were done. We conclude there is a high prevalence of HPV 16 DNA in conjunctival epithelial neoplasia, suggesting that the development of neoplasia is related somehow to the presence of this virus. However, based on its presence in clinically uninvolved eyes and on the persistence of infection many years after successful eradication of the lesions, HPV apparently does not act alone in the development of conjunctival epithelial neoplasia.

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