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Link Between New Vaginal, Prior Cervical Dysplasias

New dysplasias in vagina or vulva can be genetically related to previous cervical dysplasias

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In rare cases, cells from human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive cervical lesions may spread and cause lesions in the vagina and vulva despite treatment of the original cervical dysplasia, according to the results of a small study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In six of seven women treated for cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia, HPV16 or HPV18 integration sites in lower genital tract lesions were identical to those seen in the cervix.

Svetlana Vinokurova, M.D., of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues compared viral integration sites in high-grade dysplastic lesions of the vagina and vulva of women who were selected from 1,500 patients with anogenital lesions. Five of the women had a history of high-grade cervical lesions and two had a history of cervical cancer. The researchers found that HPV16 or HPV18 integration sites in the lower genital tract lesions matched previous lesions from both patients with a history of cervical cancer and from four of the five women with cervical dysplasia.

Given that the incidence of vaginal and vulvar cancers is extremely low, editorialists Qinghua Feng, Ph.D. and Nancy B. Kiviat, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, write that the development of a vaginal or vulvar cancer from cells derived from a previous cervical lesion is exceedingly rare.

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