Oral Contraceptive Use, Human Papillomavirus Infection, and Risk of Early Cytological Abnormalities of the Cervix

Bryan P. Negrini, Mark H. Schiffman, Robert J. Kurman, Willard Barnes, Linda Lannom, Karen Malley, Louise A. Brinton, Gregorio Delgado, Sidney Jones, Jean Gilles Tchabo, Wayne D. Lancaster

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67 Scopus citations


Oral contraceptive (OC) use was examined as a risk factor for cytological abnormalities of the cervix among 1964 women receiving Papanicolaou smears at three hospitals in the Washington, D.C, area. A single pathologist classified cytological results from all women as normal (n = 1423), atypia (n = 314), low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL; n = 208), or high grade SIL (n = 19). Women in each of the three abnormal groups were compared to women with normal cytological diagnoses. A subset of 579 patients, including most of the women with low or high grade SIL and a matched group of controls, was tested for human papillomavirus (HPV) by type-specific Southern blot hybridization to examine the effects of OC use while taking into account the effects of HPV infection. OC use was found to be unrelated to risk of atypia or low grade SIL but was associated with an elevated risk of high grade SIL that increased with longer duration of use (relative risk = 4.6, 95% confidence interval = 1.1-18.1 for >5 years of use). HPV infection was associated, as expected, with risk of low and high grade SIL but not with atypia. Taking the HPV results into consideration did not alter the OC findings. There was no evidence that OC use synergistically increased the risk of cervical neoplasia among HPV-infected women, although small numbers prevented a reliable evaluation for high grade SIL. OC use did appear to increase the detection of HPV types 16/18, but the etiological importance of this finding is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4670-4675
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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