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Cervical human papillomavirus infection and intraepithelial neoplasia: a review.

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Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and intraepithelial neoplasias are precursors to cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. HPV satisfies the epidemiologic criteria for causality; the role of other cofactors is under study. Natural history studies show that most low-grade lesions (productive HPV infections) regress or persist, whereas high-grade lesions (those with integrated HPV DNA) progress. Immunobiologic studies demonstrate that infection peaks in the early 20s, leading to a 10- to 20-year period of persistent infection, before finally progressing to a preinvasive or invasive lesion. Papanicolaou (Pap) screening has lowered the morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer in every country in which screening programs have been introduced. The diagnostic strategy for an abnormal Pap smear includes colposcopy; the role of HPV DNA testing in screening or diagnosis remains unclear. Patients are treated with cervical ablation, cone biopsy, or chemopreventive agents. Efforts to strengthen screening and prevention, as well as new directions for research, are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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