Some human papillomavirus (HPV) types, such as HPV 16, are clearly associated with cervical dysplasia; however, the role played by other HPV types occasionally found in dysplasia is less certain. In addition, most methods used to detect HPV in clinical specimens cannot easily distinguish among more than two or three HPV types in a single specimen. Therefore, the significance of infection with multiple HPV types is not known. To address this question, we analyzed cervicovaginal lavage specimens from three cohorts of women for HPV DNA using a PCR/reverse blot assay system that permits the detection and partial quantitation of 26 genital HPV types. As expected, 94.1% of women who had dysplasia (n = 34) and 71.4% of women who had atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance (ASCUS) (n = 21) on cytology had HPV DNA detected compared to 54.5% of age matched women with normal cytology. HPV 16 DNA was detected in 35% of dysplasia patients compared to 9% of cytologic normals (P = 0.0044). Dysplasia patients had a mean of 3.29 (range 0-10) different HPV types detected compared to 1.04 (range 0-7) HPV types among those with normal cytology (P < 0.0001). These data support a possible role for multiple HPV types in the development or progression of cervical dysplasia.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.