Is bacterial vaginosis associated with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia?


Address correspondence or reprint requests to: Mr. J.R. Smith, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH. UK.


Previous research has produced conflicting results regarding the association of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). These studies have been weakened in their conclusions mainly by failure to adequately control for the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). One proposed mechanism suggesting that carcinogenic nitrosamines acting either independently or via human papilloma virus (HPV) has not been fully tested previously. We undertook a prospective, case-controlled, cross-sectional study where the presence of STIs, in particular human papillomavirus (HPV) which is known to be associated with the development of CIN, was controlled for. Women with BV were not found to have CIN more frequently than women with normal vaginal flora and the quantities of nitrosamines produced by women with BV did not differ significantly from women without BV. We thus found that BV is not associated with CIN.