Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 2, P271-287, June 2000

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Diagnosis of Human Papillomavirus Gynecologic Infections

  • Myra J. Wick
    Address reprint requests to: Myra J. Wick, PhD, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, 420 Delaware Street, SE, Box 609 Mayo, Minneapolis, MN 55455
    From the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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      The identification in the early 1980s of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in cervical carcinoma generated interest in molecular classification of the virus, and prompted studies regarding the oncogenic potential of genital HPVs. Subsequent studies confirming the presence of HPV in greater than 90% of precancerous cervical lesions and close to 100% of cervical cancers has raised concerns regarding the adequacy of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear testing for the detection of precancerous lesions/HPV infection. A variety of detection methods adjunctive to cytologic testing have been described, including detection at the macroscopic level, cerviography, colposcopy, and serologic and molecular-based HPV testing. Recently, there has been intense interest in molecular-based detection and typing of HPV-induced genital lesions. This has resulted in the development of a variety of molecular- based detection methods including Southern transfer, dot blotting, in situ hybridization, hybrid capture, and PCR-based assays. This article provides an overview of each of the molecular methods, and addresses the potential future role of molecular-based HPV testing.
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