Summary Background Some studies have shown that cutaneous and mucosal melanoma biopsy specimens harbour human papillomavirus (HPV), suggesting that this virus may play a role in development and progression of the tumour.
Objectives To investigate the presence of HPV DNA and the prevalence of different high-risk mucosal HPV genotypes in primary melanoma (PM) and in acquired dysplastic melanocytic naevi (ADMN).
Methods Fifty-one PMs from 18 men and 33 women (median age 55·5 years), 33 ADMN from 15 men and 18 women (median age 35·1 years) and 20 control skin samples from nine men and 11 women (median age 43·5 years) were studied. All diagnoses were made after histological analysis. HPV DNA analysis was made using two different polymerase chain reaction–enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR–ELISA) methods, namely MY-PCR and GP-PCR.
Results Using GP-PCR, mucosal HPVs were detected in 14 PMs (27%; P = 0·0166) and eight ADMN (24%; P = 0·0367), while with MY-PCR, mucosal HPVs were found in 11 PMs (22%; P = 0·04) and five ADMN (15%; P not significant). All control skin samples were negative for mucosal HPVs with both DNA amplification procedures.
Conclusions Using our PCR–ELISA methods, the detection of mucosal high-risk HPV genotypes in 24% of precursor lesions (ADMN) and in 27% of PMs adds to the body of evidence indicating a colocalization of mucosal HPV and tumoral melanocytic pathologies.