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Does human papillomavirus play a role in the development of bladder transitional cell carcinoma? A comparison of PCR and immunohistochemical analysis
  1. S Youshya1,
  2. K Purdie1,
  3. J Breuer1,
  4. C Proby1,
  5. M T Sheaf2,
  6. R T D Oliver3,
  7. S Baithun2
  1. 1Centre for Cutaneous Research, 2 Newark Street, Whitechapel, London E1 2AT, UK
  2. 2Department of Histopathology, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK
  3. 3Department of Medical Oncology, Royal London Hospital
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Baithun
 Department of Medical Oncology, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK;


Aim: To investigate the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the development of bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).

Methods: Seventy eight paraffin wax embedded TCC samples were tested for the presence of HPV by two methods. First, immunohistochemistry was carried out using a polyclonal antibody capable of detecting the capsid protein of all known papillomaviruses. The second method was a consensus GP5+/6+ primer mediated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, with the products analysed by both agarose gel electrophoresis and an enzyme immunoassay using type specific oligonucleotide probes for 10 different mucosal genotypes. To exclude false negative results because of the poor quality of DNA extracted from paraffin wax embedded samples, the series was extended to include 20 further blocks for which the corresponding snap frozen unfixed tissue was available.

Results: The two methods produced contrasting results, with 47 of the 78 samples positive for HPV antigen and none positive for HPV DNA. HPV DNA was not detected in the 20 additional paraffin wax embedded TCCs or in the 20 paired unfixed samples. In contrast, HPV DNA was amplified by PCR from all six of the paraffin wax embedded cervical carcinoma and anogenital wart control samples.

Conclusion: The disparity between the two sets of results is probably caused by false positives resulting from the non-specificity of the polyclonal antibody used for immunohistochemistry. These results suggest that HPV is unlikely to play an aetiological role in the development of bladder TCC.

  • EIA, enzyme immunoassay
  • DIG, digoxigenin
  • HPV, human papillomavirus
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • TCC, transitional cell carcinoma
  • bladder cancer
  • transitional cell carcinoma
  • enzyme immunoassay-polymerase chain reaction
  • human papillomavirus antibody
  • papillomavirus

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