Evolution of Terminology for Human-Papillomavirus-Infection-Related Vulvar Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to review the nearly 100-year evolution of terminology applicable to oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV)-related vulvar intraepithelial squamous lesions and present current consensus terminology.

Methods

An extensive literature search of the English language was performed, which included articles that reviewed French and German publications, from 1922 to 2012. The database search was assisted by representatives of the American Society for Colposcopy and the College of American Pathologists as part of a comprehensive study and consensus effort to achieve unified terminology among gynecologists, dermatologists, pathologists, and other related experts to develop for reporting female and male lower genital and anal HPV related squamous lesions. This was done by the committee referred to as the “LAST” Committee. Some of the results and conclusions have been previously presented and published. This presentation is specifically related to vulvar squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL)/vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia terminology.

Results

This work will review past terminology related to HPV-related vulvar SIL, beginning in 1922. The most current terminology will be presented as proposed by the LAST Committee and considered by the World Health Organization this year in accord with the US-Canadian Academy of Pathology.

Conclusions

A consensus of terminology for HPV-related vulvar SIL has been sought for some time, and currently, some consensus has been achieved. The term “squamous intraepithelial lesion” is favored over “intraepithelial neoplasia.” A 2-tier classification, of “high grade (HSIL)” or “low grade (LSIL),” is favored over a 3- or 4-tier classification. The application of this terminology will be discussed.

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