Background: Studies that compare penoscopic evaluation with the results of molecular human papillomavirus (HPV) testing are scarce. This study assessed and compared both type and distribution of various penile lesions using penoscopy (peniscopy) technique in Croatian men with different, laboratory-confirmed HPV status.
Methods: From a large cohort of men attending an outpatient STD clinic for HPV testing, a total of 120 patients were randomly selected and grouped into those positive for low-risk HPV, high-risk HPV, both low-risk and highrisk HPV, and those with negative results. Samples for HPV-DNA detection were taken by penile brushing and tested with the hc2 HPV DNA Test using Hybrid Capture 2 technology. Lesions were observed by photocolposcope after the application of aqueous 5% acetic acid, and classified as flat (macular), papular, papillary, classical condyloma, PIN-suspicious and non-specific lesions.
Results: The results have shown that flat and non-specific acetowhite lesions were the most common overall. All groups differed significantly with respect to papular and papillary lesions. A combination of heterogeneous lesions (i.e., a mixed penoscopic pattern) was commonly observed in all HPV-positive groups, but was significantly lower in the HPV-negative group. A majority of lesions were located in the coronal sulcus, and the four groups differed with respect to the location only considering the lesions of the penile shaft. Distribution of lesions in different sites did not appear to be significantly different with respect to the group, although differences within the high-risk HPV group and the group with both low-risk and high-risk HPV were detected.
Conclusions: Penoscopy is relevant, but not a conclusive diagnostic tool for differentiating HPV from non-HPV findings in men - thus combining it with an HPV DNA test represents a more reliable approach.