Historical Perspective: Terminology for Lower Anogenital Tract Pathology

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Abstract

The terminology for lower anogenital tract (LAT) pathology has evolved over the past 127 years as the understanding of the etiology of the cellular changes of precancer and cancer evolved. Terminology has had significant influence on the management of LAT lesions, often reflecting misunderstanding of both the etiology and the meaning of the terminology. In this section of Pathology Case Reviews on Lower Anogenital Tract, we explore the evolution in terminology, which has generally developed along 2 separate paths, depending on whether the epithelial lesion is mucosal or cutaneous. As we move forward with greater understanding of the common etiology and morphology of human papillomavirus–induced intraepithelial neoplasia throughout the LAT, the next step in this evolutionary process is a common nomenclature.

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