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Schaller, Jörg; Rohwedder, A.; Burgdorf, Walter H. C.; Itin, Peter H. and Lautenschlager, Stephan (2003): Identification of human papillomavirus DNA in cutaneous lesions of Cowden syndrome. In: Dermatology, No. 2: pp. 134-140 [PDF, 161kB]


Background: Cowden syndrome (CS) or multiple hamartoma syndrome is a cancer-associated genodermatosis inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. One of the diagnostic criteria is facial papules which are felt to be trichilemmomas, benign hair follicle tumors, which some consider to be induced by human papillomavirus (HPV). Objective: To search for HPV in skin tumors, especially trichilemmomas, from patients with CS. Methods: Skin lesions from patients with CS were classified histologically. Each tumor was then analyzed for HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction with different primer sets; positive amplicons were typed by direct sequencing. Results: Twenty-nine biopsies from 7 patients with CS were investigated. Only 2 of 29 tumors clinically suspected of being trichilemmomas were confirmed histologically. In addition, 3 sclerotic fibromas, also typical of CS, were found, as well as 1 sebaceous hyperplasia. The other 23 lesions showed histological features of HPV-induced tumors in various stages of development. HPV DNA was found in 19 of 29 cutaneous lesions. Tumors without any histological signs of HPV induction were negative for HPV DNA. Two tumors which were histologically classified as common warts contained HPV types 27 and 28. All the 17 other HPV types belong to the group of epidermodysplasia-verruciformis-associated types. Conclusions: The majority of cutaneous lesions in CS contain HPV DNA. They may have a variety of histological patterns. Trichilemmomas are not clinically distinctive and can be difficult to identify in CS patients. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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