What is the role of lab studies in the workup of nongenital warts?

Updated: Sep 25, 2020
  • Author: Philip D Shenefelt, MD, MS; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

The diagnosis of warts is made primarily on the basis of clinical findings. Immunohistochemical detection of HPV structural proteins may confirm the presence of virus in a lesion, but this has a low sensitivity. Viral DNA identification using Southern blot hybridization is a more sensitive and specific technique used to identify the specific HPV type present in tissue. Polymerase chain reaction may be used to amplify viral DNA for testing. Although HPV may be detected in younger lesions, it may not be present in older lesions.


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