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April 1992

A Morphologic, Pathologic, and Virologic Study of Anogenital Warts in Men

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Rock and Farmer) and Immunology and Infectious Disease (Dr Shah), The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(4):495-500. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680140075006

• Background and Design.—  Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) in the anogenital region is associated with benign papillomas (condyloma acuminatum), subtle verrucous changes, subclinical infection, and malignant lesions. Although both men and women are affected, much of the investigation has been directed toward women in the study of cervical and vulvar carcinoma. The current investigation focuses on HPV infection in men. This study was undertaken to correlate the clinical spectrum of disease in our population of male patients with histopathologic features, immunoperoxidase staining for viral capsid antigen, and viral typing. Genital lesions from 26 patients were examined and tested prospectively over a 1-year period.

Results.—  The 26 lesions examined demonstrated variable morphologic features with regard to location, size, surface characteristics, and color. Histopathologic features were consistent with the diagnosis of venereal warts, but not necessarily diagnostic. Three of five standard histopathologic criteria were present in only 71% of the specimens. Despite the morphologic variability and the indeterminant histopathologic findings, 20 of 23 lesions positive for the genital tract HPV types tested contained HPV types 6 and/or 11.

Conclusions.—  We conclude that the morphologic appearance of anogenital warts does not necessarily correlate with HPV type. Histopathologic study is helpful in excluding other diagnoses but may be indeterminant in the diagnosis of venereal warts. All men with anogenital warts should be counseled, treated, and undergo follow-up regardless of HPV type.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;127:495-500)