Human papilloma virus (HPV) has for some time been known to cause benign tumors, or warts. However, a growing body of evidence now links HPV to the genesis of some malignant tumors.
The evidence of HPV's role in human cancer remains circumstantial, (although its association with squamous cell carcinomas in animals is well established). But a strong case has been made by the recent finding of genetic sequences homologous to the genome of one HPV type, HPV 16, in cells taken from women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (the severe form of which corresponds to carcinoma in situ) or invasive cervical cancer. These sequences were observed in 12 of 20 specimens from German patients and in 10 of 35 specimens from African and South American patients (Proc Nat Acad Sci, in press). "Based on these findings, we can now suggest that infection of genital tissue with HPV 16 represents a significant