The aim of this study was to determine whether detection of β-HPV gene products, as defined in epidermodysplasia verruciformis skin cancer, could also be observed in lesions from kidney transplant recipients alongside the viral DNA. A total of 111 samples, corresponding to 79 skin lesions abscised from 17 kidney transplant recipients, have been analyzed. The initial PCR analysis demonstrated that β-HPV-DNA was highly present in our tumor series (85%). Using a combination of antibodies raised against the E4 and L1 proteins of the β-genotypes, we were able to visualize productive infection in 4 out of 19 actinic keratoses, and in the pathological borders of 1 out of 14 squamous cell carcinomas and 1 out of 31 basal cell carcinomas. Increased expression of the cellular proliferation marker minichromosome maintenance protein 7 (MCM7), that extended into the upper epithelial layers, was a common feature of all the E4-positive areas, indicating that cells were driven into the cell cycle in areas of productive viral infections. Although the present study does not directly demonstrate a causal role of these viruses, the detection of E4 and L1 positivity in actinic keratosis and the adjacent pathological epithelium of skin cancer, clearly shows that β-HPV are actively replicating in the intraepidermal precursor lesions of kidney transplant recipients and can therefore cooperate with other carcinogenic agents, such as UVB, favoring skin cancer promotion.
- kidney transplant recipients
- skin cancer
- viral life cycle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine