We studied, in an open clinical trial, 28 women with giant solitary human papillomavirus (HPV) lesions of the vulva that were treated by both laser and the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), and analyzed the biopsy specimens of normal skin adjacent to the lesions for papillomavirus sequencs by Southern blot hybridization and 2’-5’ oligo-A synthetase (interferon) activity. The patients were reexamined after 3 weeks when a second treatment to the still infected areas was reapplied. They were reexamined for recurrence after 3 months: 4 patients harbored HPV-DNA genomes on the laser-treated side, adjacent to the original lesion, compared to 1 patient who developed recurrence on the LEEP side in a more distant, previously untreated, area. The optimal extent of laser or LEEP treatment necessary to reduce recurrence of vulvar condyloma remains to be established. Good in situ hybridization tests combined with the polymerase chain reaction and measurements of oligosynthetase activity to determine the types of cells involved at different sites of infection and to assess harboring of latent HPV genomes in histologically normal tissue are necessary in order to plan proper HPV treatment modality strategies.

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