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Open Access Research article

Eyebrow hairs from actinic keratosis patients harbor the highest number of cutaneous human papillomaviruses

Ines Schneider1, Mandy D Lehmann1, Vlada Kogosov2, Eggert Stockfleth1 and Ingo Nindl123*

Author Affiliations

1 Charité, Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergy, Skin Cancer Center Charité, University Hospital of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2 DKFZ – Charité, Viral Skin Carcinogenesis Group, Division Viral Transformation Mechanisms, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

3 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin, 10117, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:186  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-186

Published: 24 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Cutaneous human papillomavirus (HPV) infections seem to be associated with the onset of actinic keratosis (AK). This study compares the presence of cutaneous HPV types in eyebrow hairs to those in tissues of normal skin and skin lesions of 75 immunocompetent AK patients.

Methods

Biopsies from AK lesions, normal skin and plucked eyebrow hairs were collected from each patient. DNA from these specimens was tested for the presence of 28 cutaneous HPV (betaPV and gammaPV) by a PCR based method.

Results

The highest number of HPV prevalence was detected in 84% of the eyebrow hairs (63/75, median 6 types) compared to 47% of AK lesions (35/75, median 3 types) (p< 0.001) and 37% of normal skin (28/75, median 4 types) (p< 0.001), respectively. A total of 228 HPV infections were found in eyebrow hairs compared to only 92 HPV infections in AK and 69 in normal skin. In all three specimens HPV20, HPV23 and/or HPV37 were the most prevalent types. The highest number of multiple types of HPV positive specimens was found in 76% of the eyebrow hairs compared to 60% in AK and 57% in normal skin. The concordance of at least one HPV type in virus positive specimens was 81% (three specimens) and 88-93% of all three combinations with two specimens.

Conclusions

Thus, eyebrow hairs revealed the highest number of cutaneous HPV infections, are easy to collect and are an appropriate screening tool in order to identify a possible association of HPV and AK.

Keywords:
Actinic keratosis (AK); Cutaneous human papillomavirus (HPV); Eyebrow hairs; Natural history