The natural history of intraepithelial abnormalities of the cervix associated with human papillomavirus infection was investigated in a prospective study of 50 women with vulval warts, of whom 28 had colposcopic evidence of a cervical epithelial abnormality and 22 a normal cervix. Of the 28 with a cervical abnormality, 26 were re-examined by colposcopy after three months; the epithelial abnormality had persisted in 23 women. Nineteen women who had initially shown abnormality by colposcopy were re-examined six months after their first attendance; the epithelial abnormality had persisted in 14 women. Of the 22 women who initially had a normal cervix, 19 were re-examined after three months; the cervix remained normal in 18, but an epithelial abnormality had developed in one. Fourteen women who initially had a normal cervix were re-examined six months after their first attendance; the cervix was still normal in 11, but an epithelial abnormality had developed in three. Colposcopically directed biopsy specimens were obtained from 21 women who showed an epithelial abnormality; of these, evidence of wart virus infection was present in four, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in two, both conditions in 13, and no abnormality in two. It is concluded that lesions of the cervix associated with wart virus infection show little evidence of short term regression.
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