Human papillomavirus infections in women with and without abnormal cervical cytology

Lancet. 1987 Sep 26;2(8561):703-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)91072-5.


9295 smears, obtained from women attending three gynaecological hospitals for routine screening, were examined for human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11 and HPV 16 and 18 infections by filter in-situ hybridisation. The data were compared with cytological findings. In women with normal cytological smears HPV infection was identified in about 10% of women aged between 15 and 50 years and in less than 5% of those aged over 50. In women with abnormal smears (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia [CIN] I, II, and III and invasive cancer) HPV infection was detected in 35-40%; this rate seemed to be age-independent. the Peak incidence of CIN appeared several years after that of HPV infection. In women aged greater than 30 years it also declined earlier than did HPV positivity. The age-group distribution of women with CIN I, II, and III differed significantly from that of patients with invasive cancer. Only about a third of HPV-positive patients remained virus-positive, probably because of fluctuations in virus production and the insensitivity of the test system used. It is possible that filter in-situ hybridisation underestimates the total rate of HPV infections by a factor of 2 to 3.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma in Situ / microbiology*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Vaginal Smears


  • DNA, Viral