A polymerase chain reaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method for detecting human papillomavirus in cervical carcinomas and high-grade cervical cancer precursors

Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Mar;85(3):337-42. doi: 10.1016/0029-7844(94)00399-x.


Objective: To develop and evaluate a novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based method for detecting high-oncogenic-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV).

Methods: An HPV assay based on PCR amplification of a region of the E6 open reading frame and ELISA detection of PCR products that specifically identify high-oncogenic-risk HPV types (eg, types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 56, 58, and 65) was developed. Dacron swabs were used to obtain samples from the cervices of 371 women referred for colposcopy. The swabs were analyzed using the PCR-ELISA method. The results of HPV DNA testing were then compared with the results of a repeat Papanicolaou smear and cervical biopsy obtained at the same visit.

Results: The sensitivity of the PCR-ELISA HPV test for detecting invasive cervical cancer or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) was 90%. High-oncogenic-risk HPVs were detected in six of seven women with biopsy-confirmed invasive cervical cancer, 74 of 81 women with biopsy-confirmed high-grade SIL, 58 of 128 women with biopsy-confirmed low-grade SIL, and 46 of 155 women with no evidence of cervical disease by colposcopy and cervical biopsy. When used in conjunction with a repeat Papanicolaou test, 97% of the women with invasive cervical carcinoma and high-grade SIL lesions were identified.

Conclusion: The PCR-ELISA-based HPV detection provides the potential for an automated, rapid, and sensitive test for cervical cancer and high-grade cervical lesions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*


  • DNA, Viral