Frequent detection of human polyomavirus 6 in keratoacanthomas

Jan Beckervordersandforth, Sreedhar Pujari, Dorit Rennspiess, Ernst Jan M. Speel, Veronique Winnepenninckx, Carlos Diaz, Wolfgang Weyers, Anke Maria Haugg, Anna Kordelia Kurz, Axel zur Hausen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: The recent discovery of the Merkel cell polyomavirus and its consistent association with Merkel cell carcinoma has drawn attention to the numerous recently discovered polyomaviruses and their possible involvement in the etiopathogenesis of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Data on the recently discovered human polyomavirus 6 (HPyV6) and its role in NMSC are sparse and in part controversial. Methods: In the present study we tested a large number (n = 299) of NMSC specimens for the presence of human polyomavirus 6 (HPyV6) by DNA PCR and HPyV6 fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). In detail, 59 keratoacanthomas (KA), 109 basal cell carcinomas (BCC), 86 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and 45 trichoblastomas (TB) were tested for the presence of HPyV6. Results: HPyV6 DNA PCR and subsequent sequence analysis revealed that 25 KAs (42.3 %), 23 BCCs (21.1 %), 8 SCCs (9.3 %) and 10 TBs (22.2 %) were HPyV6 positive. The presence of HPyV6 DNA was visualized and validated on the single cell level within the histomorphological context by HPyV6 fluorescence in situ hybridization. Conclusions: The high frequency of HPyV6 DNA in 42.3 % of KA possibly points to a role for HPyV6 in the etiopathogenesis of KAs. Although the detection rate of HPyV6 DNA in BCCs and TBs is within the previously reported detection range in normal skin, it does not exclude a possible role for HPyV6 in the carcinogenesis in a significant subset of these skin tumors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalDiagnostic Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016


  • Human Polyomavirus 6
  • HPyV6
  • Keratoacanthoma
  • Non melanoma skin cancer
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • FISH

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