Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was studied in 150 women after conization for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade three (CIN III). Colposcopically directed biopsies were taken from the cervix and vulva for histopathological diagnosis. 77 specimens were further analyzed immunohistochemically for the presence of HPV capsid antigen. In ten randomly selected cervical biopsies cellular DNA was dot blot hybridized with HPV 6/11 and 16/18 DNA probes. Genital warts were seen in 10 (7%) of the patients. Among the routine cytological smears, HPV infection was only reported in 3 (2%). In 87/142 (61%) of the cervical tissues koilocytes were found. A further 9/142 (6%) associated with CIN. Of the vulvar biopsies 91/145 (63%) contained koilocytes. A further 12/145 (8%) were associated with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. HPV capsid proteins were detected in 35/77 (45%) of the cervical and in 20/41 (49%) of the vulva biopsies. All cervical DNA samples hybridized with probes for HPV 6/11 and two also reacted with the HPV 16/18 probes.
Conclusion: A latent HPV infection of the cervix or vulva, can be detected in 85% of the women previously treated for CIN III by conization.