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Last Updated: 2001-08-21 10:14:58 EDT (Reuters Health)
WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Multiple human papillomavirus (HPV) types are often found in the lower genital tracts of women with cervical dysplasia, according to a report published in the August issue of the Journal of Medical Virology.
HPV 16 has long been tied to cervical dysplasia, but the presence and significance of other HPV types has been unclear. Past studies investigating the issue have been limited by their ability to detect and identify only a few HPV types, the author state.
In the current study, Dr. Darron R. Brown and colleagues from Indiana University in Indianapolis used a PCR/reverse blot assay that allowed the detection and partial quantitation of 26 genital HPV types. The study group included 34 women with cervical dysplasia, 21 women with atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance (ASCUS), and 55 matched women with normal cytology.
HPV DNA was detected in the lower genital tracts of 94.1%, 71.4%, and 54.5% of women with dysplasia, ASCUS, and normal cytology, respectively. HPV 16 DNA was found in 34.3% of women with cervical dysplasia and in 9.1% of women with normal cytology. On average, more than three HPV types were detected in women with dysplasia compared with only about one type in women with normal cytology.
"The observation that genital tract specimens from patients with dysplasia commonly contain multiple HPV types is not novel," the authors point out. "However, the robust nature of the PCR assay used in this study and its ability to identify many different HPV types of varying quantity in the same specimen has allowed us to determine the magnitude of this phenomenon more precisely than was previously possible," they add.
"The importance of multiple high-risk HPV types in the pathogenesis of cervical dysplasia and cancer is unknown," the researchers state. "However, our study, along with several previously published, strongly suggests that the simultaneous presence of multiple HPV types contributes to the development or progression of cervical dysplasia."
J Med Virol 2001;64:550-559.
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