Retrospective study of the influence of HPV persistence on outcomes among women with high-risk HPV infections and negative cytology.

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To evaluate the outcomes of women diagnosed with high-risk HPV without cytology evidence of cervical dysplasia.


The present retrospective observational study enrolled consecutive women aged at least 18 years diagnosed with high-risk HPV types with negative cytology results at the National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy, between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2015. The development of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) was assessed.


There were 212 patients with high-risk HPV infections with negative cytology included in the analysis. After a mean ± SD follow-up period of 48 ± 33 months, 65 (30.7%) and 26 (12.3%) patients had developed cytologic or histologic cervical dysplasia (low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion [LSIL]/CIN1+) and high-grade cervical dysplasia (CIN2+), respectively. No patients had invasive cancer. No correlations were observed between type-specific HPV infections and LSIL/CIN1+ and CIN2+. HPV persistence correlated with both LSIL/CIN1+ (P<0.001) and CIN2+ (P<0.001) in univariate analyses; a 6-month increase in HPV persistence was associated with increased risk of developing LSIL/CIN1+ (P=0.010) and CIN2+ (P=0.012) in multivariate analyses.


Regardless of cytology findings, patients diagnosed with high-risk HPV types should receive strict colposcopy follow-up, particularly with persistent HPV infections. Further prospective studies are needed to defined optimal surveillance strategies for these patients.

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