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Med Mal Infect. 2005 May;35(5):302-5.

[Ano-genital lesions due to human papillomavirus infection in women].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service d'immunologie clinique, hôpital européen Georges-Pompidou, 20 rue Leblanc, 75015 Paris, France.


Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the most prevalent sexually-transmitted agents worldwide. HPV are small circular double-stranded DNA epitheliotropic viruses that exhibit either cutaneous or mucosal specificity. Most HPV infections are self-limiting and are spontaneously cleared within months or years. However, infections may persist and result in a variety of benign, pre-malignant and malignant tumors. Cytological and histopathological abnormalities associated with HPV infections of the male and female lower anogenital tract include condylomata, low-grade and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions which are incipient cancers, and squamous cell carcinomas. The modal time between HPV infection occurring in the late teens or early 20 s and precancer peaking around 30 years of age is 7-10 years. Women detected with invasive cancers tend to be an average 10 years older than women with high-grade disease. The natural history of cervical cancer reveals that infection with high-risk types may lead to low-grade or high-grade intraepithelial lesions. High-grade lesions may progress to cervical carcinoma if not treated. The purpose of screening, in addition to detecting cervical cancers at an early stage, is to detect and remove high-grade lesions and thus prevent the potential progression to cervical carcinoma. Early detection of cervical neoplasia is possible with regular Pap smears performed from 21 to 70 years of age. In case of abnormal Pap smear, a biopsy performed under colposcopy will allow the diagnosis of cervical lesion. Cancer of the cervix is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths among women across the world (3,400 new cases in France in 2000).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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