Detection of human papillomaviruses in paired healthy skin and actinic keratosis by next generation sequencing

Luisa Galati, Rosario Nicola Brancaccio, Alexis Robitaille, Cyrille Cuenin, Fabiola Luzi, Gianna Fiorucci, Maria Vincenza Chiantore, Nadia Marascio, Giovanni Matera, Maria Carla Liberto, Maria Gabriella Donà, Paola Di Bonito, Tarik Gheit, Massimo Tommasino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Actinic keratosis (AK) arises on photo-damaged skin and is considered to be the precursor lesion of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Many findings support the involvement of β human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in cSCC, while very little is known on γ HPV types. The objective of this study was to characterize the spectrum of PV types in healthy skin (HS) and AK samples of the same immunocompetent individuals using next generation sequencing (NGS). Viral DNA of 244 AK and 242 HS specimens were amplified by PCR using two different sets of primers (FAP59/64 and FAPM1). Purified amplicons were pooled and sequenced using NGS. The study resulted in the identification of a large number of known β and γ PV types. In addition, 27 putative novel β and 16 γ and 4 unclassified PVs were isolated. HPV types of species γ-1 (e.g. HPV4) appeared to be strongly enriched in AK versus HS. The NGS analysis revealed that a large spectrum of known and novel PVs is present in HS and AK. The evidence that species γ-1 HPV types appears to be enriched in AK in comparison to HS warrants further studies to evaluate their role in development of skin (pre)cancerous lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100196
JournalPapillomavirus Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Actinic keratosis
  • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC)
  • Epidemiology
  • HPV
  • NGS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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