A population-based case-control study of college students was undertaken to estimate the effect of a positive clinical test for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA (the Virapap test) on the rate of squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) of the uterine cervix. When age, multiple lifetime sexual partners, and oral contraceptive use were controlled by logistic regression, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for a positive Virapap test was 7.3 (3.3, 17) for a cytologic diagnosis of SILs and 3.4 (1.4, 8.5) for a cytologic diagnosis of squamous intraepithelial lesions of undetermined significance (equivocal atypia). When case status was defined as patients whose Pap smears were confirmed histologically as high-grade SIL, the adjusted OR was 10.3 (3.3, 32), reflecting the high proportion of individuals with SILs who were harboring high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. These results confirm the many previous findings of a strong association between HPV DNA, and demonstrate that strength of the association persists when important confounding variables are controlled. This suggests a causal role for HPV in cervical neogenesis. Believing that HPV infection is a major causal agent for cervical cancer precursors suggests that in this time of rapidly increasing HPV prevalence, especially among young persons, the incidence of cervical neoplasia will rise. This underscores the importance of increasing the availability, usage, and perhaps the frequency of Pap smear screening.
- Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
- Human papilloma virus
- Nucleic acid hybridization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine