OBJECTIVE--To assess the diagnostic criteria of genital HPV lesions in male sexual partners of HPV infected women. METHODS--Peniscopically directed biopsy specimens (from 693 lesions in 300 men) were examined on light microscopy and in situ hybridisation (ISH) for HPV types 6,11,16,18,31,33 and 42. The predictive value of different histological criteria for ISH positivity was also evaluated using stepwise logistic regression analysis. RESULTS--Flat HPV lesions were most accurately predicted by the punctuation pattern on peniscopy, giving the concordance between peniscopy and histology between peniscopy and histology of 79.5% (66/83) and that between peniscopy and ISH of 56.6% (47/83). Diffuse acetowhite pattern disclosed a typical HPV lesion in only 17.8% (13/73), and HPV DNA was found in 11.0% (8/73) of cases. Of the 114 biopsy specimens from peniscopically healthy areas adjacent (0.5-1 cm) to the lesions, 93.0% (106/114) were normal on light microscopy, and HPV DNA was found in only 2.6%. Penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) lesions were most frequently ISH positive, 81.1% (30/37), 50% showing HPV 16 and/or 18 DNA. Lesions classified as HPV-suspicious or nonspecific on light microscopy were HPV DNA-positive in 16.9% (11/65) and 8.1% (13/160), the frequency of high-risk HPV types being 3.1% and 1.3%, respectively. In logistic regression analysis, koilocytosis was the most powerful predictor of ISH-positivity in the flat lesions (without PIN), the risk ratio being 3.7. CONCLUSION--No conclusive peniscopic criteria for male HPV infections could be established, making histological evaluation mandatory. Care should be exercised in interpreting as HPV lesions the cases devoid of koilocytosis, HPV typing being essential in confirming the diagnosis in doubtful cases.
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