Of 59 women referred with vulval warts whose cervices were assessed colposcopically for the presence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) before local treatment of the wart lesions, 17 had histologically proved CIN, 12 had histologically proved cervical wart virus infection, and 30 had abnormality on colposcopy or cytology. Seven of the 17 with CIN had no abnormality on cervical cytology. No differences in sexual behaviour, smoking habit, or oral contraceptive use were seen between women with CIN and those with no cervical abnormality. Viral DNA typing of the vulval lesions was carried out, but there were no differences in the distribution of viral types between the three different histological groups. Of the 30 women with no abnormality at the initial visit, 23 were followed up colposcopically and cytologically for one to two years. Three of them developed CIN after adequate treatment of the vulval lesions despite the absence of cervical abnormalities on colposcopy at the time of treatment. Studying the known factors linked with CIN failed to show why some women with vulval warts develop CIN, even after treatment of the warts, and others do not. The large number of false negative results on cervical cytology in our patients suggests that women presenting with vulval warts should be screened colposcopically in the first instance. Close follow up of women whose warts are treated and who are thought to have no cervical abnormality at that assessment is essential.
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