Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 192, Issue 3, pp 123–128 | Cite as

Human papillomavirus infections and oral tumors

  • Stina SyrjänenEmail author


In the past 20 years, there has been an increasing interest in human papillomaviruses (HPV) because of their potential role in the pathogenesis of malignant tumors. In 1983, we published the first evidence that HPV might be involved in oral squamous cell carcinomas. The identification of morphological similarities between oral and cervical mucosa lead us to this original proposal. In a recent meta-analysis, HPV was indeed confirmed as an independent risk factor for oral carcinoma. To date, totally more than 100 types of HPV have been identified. As in anogenital cancers, HPV type 16 is the most prevalent type in oral carcinomas. The benign oral lesions, associated with HPV infection, include squamous cell papilloma, condyloma acuminatum, verrucca vulgaris and focal epithelial hyperplasia (FEH). Papillomas and condylomas are mostly caused by HPV type 6 or 11, while oral verrucas are associated with the skin types 2 or 4. A family history of FEH has been suggested. The FEH lesions are caused by HPV types 13 and 32, only detected in oral epithelium. In immunocompromised patients, benign HPV-induced lesions are characterized by atypical morphology and the simultaneous detection of multiple HPV types. Oral benign HPV lesions are mostly asymptomatic, and may persist or regress spontaneously.


Human papillomavirus Mouth Oral mucosa Papilloma Condyloma 


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© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oral Pathology and Radiology, Institute of Dentistry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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