Prevalence and association of perianal and intra-anal warts with composite high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions among gay and bisexual men: Baseline data from the study of the prevention of anal cancer

Sian L. Goddard, David J. Templeton, Kathy Petoumenos, Fengyi Jin, Richard J. Hillman, Carmella Law, Jennifer M. Roberts, Christopher K. Fairley, Suzanne M. Garland, Andrew E. Grulich, Isobel Mary Poynten, on behalf of the Study for the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC) Research Team

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Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes anal warts and anal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). A higher incidence of anal cancer has been found among individuals previously diagnosed with anogenital warts. We aimed to investigate the association between anal warts and the presumed anal SCC precursor high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), among participants in the Study of the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC). SPANC was a longitudinal study of anal HPV infections and related lesions among gay and bisexual men (GBM) age 35 years and older, in Sydney, Australia. Anal cytology and high-resolution anoscopy were performed. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association between clinically diagnosed anal warts and intra-anal composite-HSIL (cytology and/or histology) at the baseline visit. The prevalence of HSIL within biopsies from intra-anal warts was calculated. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) and HPV-genotyping was performed on HSIL lesions. Among 616 participants at study entry, 165 (26.8%) and 51 (8.3%) had intra-anal and perianal warts, respectively. Warts were associated with composite-HSIL, even after adjustment for HIV status, age, lifetime receptive anal intercourse partner number, and smoking (perianal: aOR 2.13, 95% CI 1.17–3.87, p = 0.013; intra-anal: aOR 1.69, 95% CI 1.16–2.46, p = 0.006). HSIL was detected in 24 (14.5%) of 165 biopsies from intra-anal warts. Of 17 HSIL lesions, 16 (94.1%) had high-risk HPV detected by LCM. Anal warts were common. Prevalent anal warts were associated with composite-HSIL. HSIL may be detected within biopsies of intra-anal warts. Anal warts may be a useful addition to risk stratification for HSIL among GBM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Patient Care and STDs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Homosexuality
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus infections
  • Warts

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