Evaluation of human papillomavirus-consensus primers for HPV detection by the polymerase chain reaction

D. G. Harnish, L. M. Belland, E. E. Scheid, T. E. Rohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Cervical cancer is one of the most frequently found cancers in women and appears to have a viral aetiology. Substantial evidence points to the human papillomaviruses (HPV) as the infectious agents and there is considerable interest in identifying and accurately typing the viruses. Since HPVs now comprise more than 100 different HPV types, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been the preferred methodology for virus identification and typing on isolated DNA. In that context, five commonly employed PCR consensus primers have been evaluated for the detection and typing of HPV. The five consensus primer pairs were derived from the consensus sequences of either the L1 and E1 open reading frames. All primers exhibited approximately equal sensitivity, as defined by the ability to detect HPV DNA, on a series of standard HPV DNA-containing preparations. However, the five primer pairs performed differently on 24 HPV-positive and 34 HPV-negative samples obtained from cervical scrapes which had been typed by type-specific PCR for HPV 6/11, 16, 18 and 33. The values for agreement between identification of samples by a HPV type-specific PCR and the consensus primer PCR were 78, 84, 91, 93 and 98%. Three samples, which were positive with only one of the five consensus primer pairs and were negative with the PCR for HPV types 6/11, 16, 18 and 33, contained other HPV sequences or HPV-related sequences as determined by DNA sequence analysis. To our knowledge, this report represents the first extensive comparison of five different consensus primers in a polymerase chain reaction for the detection of HPV. Our results suggest that PCR typing for human papillomaviruses requires more than one consensus primer pair to identify all HPV-infected samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Probes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of human papillomavirus-consensus primers for HPV detection by the polymerase chain reaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this