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Papillomavirus-associated balanoposthitis.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether there might be an association between genital papillomavirus infection (GPVI) and balanoposthitis.

DESIGN: Retrospective HPV DNA examination of biopsy specimens from 23 men suffering from balanoposthitis and exhibiting acetowhite lesions that were penoscopically and histologically concurrent with HPV infection.

SETTING: The STD clinics at Karolinska Hospital and South Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS: Randomly selected men attending with long-lasting and/or recurrent penile symptoms and exhibiting a clinical picture of balanoposthitis, who revealed a penoscopical and histopathological picture of epidermal lesions that were concordant with accepted criteria for typical or conspicuous GPVI. Asymptomatic controls were selected retrospectively on the basis of identical penoscopy and histology criteria.

RESULTS: A history of previous condylomata was obtained in eight (35%) of 23 men. At penoscopic evaluation tiny condylomatous lesions were observed in five (22%) patients. The in situ hybridisation (ISH) assay using specific probes for the HPV types 6/11, 16/18, 31/33 and 42 was positive in 13/23 (56%) of the patient samples, but in only 26% of the 19 control samples. In patient biopsies the oncogenic HPV types 16/18 and/or 31/33 were found in 7/13 samples, whereas HPV 6/11 and/or 42 were present in another six cases. PCR performed on the ten ISH negative patient biopsies, were negative in all cases.

CONCLUSION: Symptoms included redness, itching, burning, tenderness, dyspareunia, fissuring and in two cases penile oedema and inguinal adenopathy. All patients fulfilled penoscopical and histopathological criteria for HPV infection. We demonstrate some tentative evidence that HPV might be associated with long-lasting balanoposthitis, although our data still are circumstantial for a causative association. The results also elucidate the diversity in clinical presentation of GPVI.

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