Detection of human papillomavirus in squamous intraepithelial lesions by consensus and type-specific polymerase chain reaction
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify human papillomavirus (HPV) in 216 cervical biopsy specimens from women referred to the gynecological out-patient unit for colposcopy because of an abnormal smear. HPV DNA was screened using type-specific primers for HPV6, 11, 16, 18, 31 and 33 (TS-PCR) as well as a consensus primer located in the E1 region of the HPV genome (C-PCR). TS-PCR specificity was validated by Southern blot analysis. Low-grade (SIL 1) and high-grade (SIL 2) squamous intraepithelial lesions were found in 165 biopsies. HPV16 detection was better with PCR than Southern blot, particularly for SIL 1 and SIL 2. The fact that 10% of HPV16 (all SIL 2) were not detected by C-PCR indicates that both PCR techniques should be performed. C-PCR also detects uncharacterized HPV types (8.6% prevalence in our results), mainly in SIL 1 and SIL 2. HPV16, the most frequently isolated type (prevalence 21%), was associated with SIL 2 in 83% of cases. A low HPV prevalence was found in specimens without dysplastic cells. These results suggest that PCR may be an important tool for identifying women at risk for developing dysplasia or cervical cancer.
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