In a prospective study of 34 women with abnormal Papanicolaou smears, biopsy and cervicovaginal lavage specimens were analyzed for the presence of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) by Southern blot analysis and probes for HPVs 6, 11, 16, and 18. In 22 of the 23 patients with cervical lesions (96%), HPV DNA was identified in one or more specimens. All patients in whom HPV DNA was found had either koilocytotic or dysplastic lesions on biopsy or Papanicolaou smear. Immunocytochemical demonstration of HPV in biopsy samples was associated with the presence of large amounts of HPV DNA and with the ultrastructural identification of viral particles. The presence of HPV DNA in cervical biopsy specimens was limited to discrete geographic areas of the cervix with histologic abnormalities. Although HPV 16 and other related HPV types were found in all cases of severe cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, the type of HPV present in a given specimen could not be predicted on the basis of morphologic, immunocytochemical, or electron microscopic findings. It is concluded that virtually all dysplastic lesions of the cervix contain HPV DNA, that HPV is thus likely to be a major etiologic agent in the pathogenesis of cervical dysplasia, and that histopathologic features are not predictive of HPV type.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine