Oral Human Papillomavirus in Women With High-Grade Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

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This study was designed to investigate the co-prevalence of cervical and oropharyngeal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in patients with HPV-related high-grade disease of the uterine cervix (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion [HSIL]).

Materials and Methods

In a prospective cohort study, women with abnormal cervical cytology admitted to our colposcopy units received HPV testing of the uterine cervix and the oropharynx via smear. From a subset of patients, oral lavage was collected to compare detection rates of HPV DNA between lavage and swab. Patients with confirmed high-risk HPV (HR-HPV)–positive HSIL of the cervix were further investigated. Sexual behavior and lifestyle factors were documented with a standardized questionnaire.


Two hundred thirty-five women were included in the study. Of the 235 women, 135 (57.5%) were cervically HR-HPV positive with histologically confirmed high-grade cervical intraepithelial lesion (median [range] age = 30 [21–45] years). Of these, only 6 (4.4%) also had a positive oral specimen. In 3 (50%) of the 6 cases, the same HPV type was detected in oral and cervical samples (HPV 16, 35, and 45). Oral HPV detection was not higher when combining swab and lavage compared with swab alone. A relation between sexual behavior and oral HPV detection could not be demonstrated.


Oral HPV prevalence in women with cervical HPV infection and HSIL is low. Simultaneous testing of oropharyngeal and cervical HPV infection does not seem promising as future screening strategy.

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