Objective. To explore the role played by excision of the transformation zone in women diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) in the disappearance of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Material and Methods. In a retrospective, cohort study, women with CIN who were treated by loop electrosurgical excision procedure of the transformation zone were compared with another group of women with CIN who were managed expectantly. The decision to treat or manage expectantly was made by one of the authors on clinical grounds. All patients were evaluated with cervical cytologic analysis, pathologic examination of excised tissue, and HPV DNA testing, which was considered positive when high-risk HPV types were detected. Among women treated with loop electrosurgical excision procedure, the median lag time was calculated from diagnosis of CIN to treatment. The median time for conversion from HPV-positive to HPV-negative status in both groups was compared, as well as the 1- and 2-year cure rates (defined as converting to HPV-negative status) in the treated and untreated groups.
Results. In the treated group, 12% had CIN 1, 83% had CIN 2,3, 2% had cancer, and 3% had normal pathologic results. In the untreated group, 82% had CIN 1, 16% had CIN 2,3, and 2% had normal pathologic results (p < 0.0001). The lag time from the initial diagnosis of CIN to treatment was less than 1 month. The median follow-up time was 7 months (range, 1-121 months) in the treated group and 13 months (range, 1-70 months) in the untreated group. The 1-year rates of conversion to HPV-negative status, defined as the cure rates in the treated and untreated groups, were 65% (± 6%) and 23% (± 7%), respectively, and the 2-year cure rates in the treated and untreated groups were 90% (± 4%) and56% (± 11%), respectively (p < 0.0001). Median time to conversion to a negative HPV status was 7.7 months for the treated patients compared with 19.4 months in the untreated patients (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions. Women treated by loop electrosurgical excision procedure are more likely convert to HPV-negative status at 1 and 2 years and do so significantly sooner than those managed expectantly.