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Anticancer Res. 1999 Jul-Aug;19(4C):3473-8.

Spontaneous evolution of human papillomavirus infection in the uterine cervix.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ioannina University Hospital, Greece.



Little is known about the natural history and the malignant potential of low-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Cervical cancer remains the second most frequent cause of death in women across the world. Epidemiologic and molecular studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with cervical carcinogenesis. In this prospective study we examined the behavior of low-grade cervical intraepithelial lesions associated with HPV infection over a 6-year period.


During 1992, women with Papanicolaou smears reporting koilocytotic atypia (HPV effect) with or without grade 1 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HPV +/- CINI, low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, LgSIL), along with colposcopic impression of LgSIL were included to the study. Between 1992 and 1998 all women underwent repeat Papanicolaou smears, colposcopic evaluation and HPV DNA testing every six months. HPV typing of cervical scrapes was done by PCR.


A total of 330 women completed at least 6 years of follow up. Among women with high-risk HPV types (16/18), the presence of dysplasia (grade 1 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) was significantly correlated with the progression of the lesion; 29% of cases with HPV + CINI (15 out of 75) progressed to more severe lesions versus only 9% of cases with HPV infection (18 out of 225), P < 0.001, chi-square test. The incidence of histologically confirmed progressive lesions was significantly greater in women with mild dysplasia (18 out of 75, 24%) compared to women without dysplasia (13 out of 255, 5%), P < 0.001, chi-square test.


In our study HPV typing was not predictive of the evolution of low-grade intraepithelial lesions associated with HPV infection. Standard cytologic screening and colposcopy are the most effective means of monitoring low-grade lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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