Epidemiologic and molecular studies have proven that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays an important role in the development of cervical cancer. However, the role of the virus in the progression of the disease, i.e. in the development of lymph node metastasis and in the adverse clinical outcome is poorly understood. We have been using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to study the presence and typing of human papillomavirus DNA since 1980 in cervical cancers and pelvic lymph nodes from the same patients. Out of the series of 47 cervical cancer patients we focused on four women (age: 41, 33, 35 and 56 years) in this article. The follow-up of these patients revealed early recurrences of the disease (7, 7, 17, 22 months) with very short survival (9, 10, 21, 24 months). Although we detected HPV-18 positivity both in the cervical tumors and in the regional lymph nodes too in all four cases, lymph nodes were negative by routine hystology in case of the three young patients (21, 33, 35 years of age). Our observations suggest that HPV type 18 positive cervical cancer patients, despite negative histological findings in the lymph nodes should be consider as a subpopulation for poor outcome especially in the young age group (p=0,022, Fisher’s exact test).
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Accepted: August 29, 1999
Received in revised form: August 25, 1999
Received: February 20, 1999
☆This article is dedicated to Professor Lampé on the occasion of his 70th birthday
© 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.