Aims: To determine which type of human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with cervical adenocarcinoma and whether the virus was integrated or episomal in two continents. Methods: Biopsy specimens from the UK (n = 16) and South Africa (n = 22) were analysed by non-isotopic in situ hybridisation (NISH) for HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 on archival biopsy specimens using digoxigenin labelled probes. Results: A total of 20 adenocarcinomas (53%) from both groups contained HPV DNA. In the UK group, seven and four cases contained HPV 18 (44%) and 16 (25%) respectively. In the South African group, nine cases contained HPV 18 (41%) while HPV DNA was not detectable in the other 13 cases. Hence HPV 18 was present in 80% of HPV positive adenocarcinomas. Conclusions: The HPV 16 or 18 genome was integrated in all viral positive cases. In two cases HPV 18 was also present in an episomal form. These data indicate that HPV integration is common to cervical adenocarcinoma in two continents by the same methodology. The lower prevalence of HPV 18 detection in the South African group may have been due to the presence of other or unsequenced HPV types.