The aim of this study was to compare the sensitivity of Southern blot (SB) and dot blot (DB) hybridisation with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of HPV in cervical biopsies from samples with differing histology. One hundred and forty seven women with cervical dysplasia had biopsies performed; one sample was analyzed for HPV DNA from types 6 11, 16, and 18 by SB, DB and PCR (L1 consensus primer and type specific probes) while an adjacent sample was examined histologically. The histology of the samples was normal in 40 (27%), squamous metaplasia in 25 (17%), inflammation 2 (1%) HPV infection 24 (17%), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade I in 11 (7%), CIN II in 18 (12%), CIN III in 22 (15%), while 5 (3%) had invasive cancer. The number of biopsies positive for HPV DNA from types 6 11, 16, and 18, using the different hybridisation methods was 56 (38%) by dot blot, 57 (39%) by Southern blot hybridisation and 66 (45%) by PCR. When the L1 consensus primer was used 100 (68%) specimens were positive by PCR. The sensitivity of SB and DB hybridisation, as compared with PCR (type specific probes 6 11, 16, 18) was greater in biopsies with abnormal histology (histological grades of HPV infection and greater, as a group) (sensitivity of SB 83%, DB 74%) than those with normal and metaplastic change (as a group) (sensitivity of SB 44%, DB 35%) (P < 0.005 for SB and DB) (inflammation excluded from analysis). This study demonstrated that the sensitivity of SB and DB hybridisation, relative to PCR is greater in samples with abnormal histology than in samples with normal histology.
- Polymerase chain reaction