Medline: 3020404

New England Journal of Medicine 315(17): 1052-1058, 1986.

Human papillomavirus in clinically and histologically normal tissue of patients with genital cancer.

Macnab JC, Walkinshaw SA, Cordiner JW, et al.


To study the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) with genital cancer, we collected specimens of cervical, vulvar, endometrial, and vaginal tumors at the time of operation in patients with cancer. In some patients, matched internal-control (histologically normal) tissue was also collected. DNA extracted from the tissue was probed with radiolabeled HPV type 16 DNA, HPV type 18 DNA, and cloned fragments of HSV type 2 DNA. Hybridization to the HindIIIa clone of HSV-2 was detected in only 1 cervical tumor and 1 vulvar tumor (9 percent) among the 22 tumors tested. However, DNA sequences hybridizing to HPV-16 were detected in 21 of 25 tumors (84 percent) and in 8 of 11 (73 percent) of the DNA samples from clinically and histologically normal, paired, internal-control tissues from the patients with cancer. HPV-16 DNA was found in one of nine normal cervixes (11 percent) of women without genital neoplastic disease or abnormal cytology. HPV-18 DNA was detected in only 2 of 24 tumors (8 percent), 1 cervical and 1 vulvar. Our results show a strong association between the presence of HPV-16 genomes and genital tumors and between HPV-16 genomes and histologically normal tissue within 2 to 5 cm of the tumors. The implications of these findings remain to be explored.

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Dr. G. Quade