AIMS: To study the prevalence of high risk oncogenic human papillomaviruses (HPV) in inverted papilloma and papillary transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. METHODS: Ten cases of inverted papilloma and 20 cases of papillary transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder from Chinese patients in Hong Kong were examined for the presence of HPV type 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, and 33 genomes using the polymerase chain reaction and HPV type specific primer probe combinations on paraffin wax embedded biopsy specimens. RESULTS: Of the 10 cases of inverted papilloma, cases 1 and 6 showed the presence of HPV types 16 and 18, respectively. Six of the 20 papillary transitional cell carcinomas were positive for HPV type 18. The other HPV types were not detected. CONCLUSIONS: HPV type 18 was found in 60% and 30% of cases of inverted papilloma and papillary transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder, respectively. These tumours were rarely associated with HPV types 6, 11, 16, 31, and 33. The role of HPV type 18 in oncogenesis of inverted papilloma and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder requires further studies.