PDF: Human Papillomavirus in oral lesions

The causal role of "high- risk" human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in cancer of the cervix was established through the accumulation of epidemiological data and molecular studies.

To this date, 15 different HPVs have been included in the group of "high- risk" types , being considered human carcinogens by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC).

The oral cavity is a common site for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, however much is still unknown about the spectrum of oral lesions associated with HPV. The prevalence of HPV was investigated in oral dysplasias and papillary lesions using a combination of ISH, p16 and MIB-1 immunohistochemistry. 

Results show that a subset of high grade oral epithelial dysplasias demonstrated evidence of high-risk HPV infection. Follow-up information suggests a difference in the behaviour of HPV-positive and HPV-negative high grade dysplasias.

Oral papillary lesions are a heterogeneous group with variable clinical behaviour. Results support an association of low-risk HPV with papillary lesions that run a benign clinical course, despite the presence of atypia.

Other oral papillary lesions with atypical features represent potentially malignant lesions that may progress to carcinoma. Potentially malignant and malignant papillary lesions are not associated with HPV infection. Infection with low versus high-risk HPV results in distinct clinical manifestations.