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Bull Cancer. 1978;65(2):151-64.

The human papillomaviruses.


Recent biochemical and serological studies have shown the existence of at least four distinct types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) causing benign skin lesions. These viruses show hardly no antigenic relationships; their DNAs differ by their sensitivity to restriction endonucleases, and show little, if any, sequence homology, as detected by molecular hybridization using complementary RNAs transcribed in vitro. Data on the pathogenicity of HPVs are still incomplete but indicate that some types of benign skin lesions (plantar warts, common warts, flat warts) may be preferentially associated with some types of HPV. Most interesting is that epidermodysplasia verruciformis has been found associated with two types of virus, and that malignant conversion of some lesions has been observed in all the patients infected with one of them. This suggests that at least a HPV may have a higher oncogenic potential, as do rabbit (Shope) papillomavirus and bovine alimentary tract papillomavirus. Much remains to be known on human papilloma-viruses and further studies may lead to the characterization of additional types of HPVs, especially in genital condylomata acuminata and laryngeal papillomas whose malignant conversion, although rare, may be observed. Progress in this field has been and remains hampered by the lack of cell culture systems allowing replication of these highly host and tissue specific viruses, and by the widely variable virus content of the different human lesions known to be associated with a papillomavirus. Further studies are warranted by the possible role of these widespread and epitheliotropic viruses in the origin of some carcinomas in man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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