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To examine the relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) of the temporal artery.
The study group consisted of 22 cases of histologically positive/biopsy confirmed GCA. The control groups consisted of 21 histologically negative temporal artery biopsies and fifteen cases of vascular margins of nephrectomies. For detection of the presence of HPV, two methods were used: 1) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with INNO-LiPA HPV Genotyping Extra, 2) Cervista™ HPV HR. All cases were from the files of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis.
HPV DNA was detected by PCR and genotyping in 16 of 22 (73%) histologically positive cases of GCA and in only five of 21 (24%) histologically negative temporal artery biopsies. Among the vascular margin controls, only three of 15 (20%) were positive for HPV DNA. The second, independent method (CervistaTM) confirmed the aforesaid results with 100% concordance with the exception of three cases which had low genomic DNA for which it was not possible to perform the test. The differences in HPV positivity between the histologically positive and negative temporal artery biopsies and between the histologically positive temporal artery biopsies and controls were both statistically significant (p=0.001 and 0.002, respectively).
The results of our study revealed a statistically significant association between HPV positivity and biopsy confirmed temporal giant cell arteritis GCA (p=0.001). Further studies are necessary to elucidate the pathophysiology underlying this association.