AIMS--To compare two commercially available pan probes for the identification of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA expression in histological sections and to type the HPV positive cases. METHODS--97 formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded biopsy specimens from the genital tract were tested for HPV positivity with in situ hybridisation using biotinylated cDNA pan probes--Probemix (Enzo) and OmniProbe (Digene). The HPV positive cases were further tested with HPV types 6/11, 16/18, and 31/33/35/51, and the HPV type was related to the histological diagnosis. Formalin fixed, HeLa cells (10-50 HPV 18 copies per cell) and SiHa cells (1-2 HPV 16 copies per cell) were used as reference cell lines. RESULTS--32% of the specimens gave positive nucleic signals with both Probemix and OmniProbe. Of these, 84% could be further characterised with regard to HPV types 6/11, 16/18, and 31/33/35/51; 4% of all cases were positive with either Probemix or OmniProbe. The concordance of these probes was high, 96% altogether. HeLa cells stained positive but SiHa cells did not. CONCLUSION--There is no difference between Probemix and OmniProbe for the general detection of HPV. The mean detection limit of these probes is about 20 copies a cell.
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