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Plasma ascorbic acid and beta-carotene levels in women evaluated for HPV infection, smoking, and cervix dysplasia.

Basu J; Palan PR; Vermund SH; Goldberg GL; Burk RD; Romney SL
Cancer Detect Prev 1991;15(3):165-70

The association of the plasma levels of the essential micronutrients, ascorbic acid and beta-carotene, with smoking and human papillomaviruses (HPV) infection has been studied in 75 women referred to a colposcopy clinic for an abnormal Pap smear. Each patient had a repeat Pap smear and a colposcopically directed biopsy of a visually perceived cervix abnormality. Cervicovaginal lavage specimen and peripheral venous blood sample were obtained for HPV DNA hybridization studies and nutrient analyses, respectively. Samples were obtained and analyzed without knowledge of each woman's clinical status. A group of 45 subjects had histopathologically diagnosed dysplasias of varying grades of severity. Among women with dysplasias, 53.3% were smokers. Of subjects with and of subjects without dysplasias, 66 and 34%, respectively, were positive for HPV infection. The mean plasma reduced ascorbic acid, retinol, and beta-carotene levels between the dysplastic groups were comparable. A strong association with smoking history and plasma reduced ascorbic acid level was note independent of cervical dysplasias or HPV status. The findings underscore the importance of smoking, ascorbic acid, and beta-carotene as nutritional variables, and HPV infection in the pathogenesis of cervical dysplasias.

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