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Condylomata Acuminata (Genital Warts)

Condylomata acuminata are a clinical manifestation of genital HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Condylomata acuminata are described as raised, pearly, flesh-colored, papular, cauliflower-like lesions seen in the anogenital region that may cause itching, pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, or bleeding. Sexual contact is a common route of spread for HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV). While seen in all populations and ages, condylomata acuminata is most often seen in adolescence. HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11 are responsible for 90% of warts Warts Benign epidermal proliferations or tumors; some are viral in origin. Female Genitourinary Examination and are considered low risk for malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax; however, other types of HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) should be considered. Lesions rarely self-resolve; however, they can be removed via cryotherapy Cryotherapy A form of therapy consisting in the local or general use of cold. The selective destruction of tissue by extreme cold or freezing is cryosurgery. Chondrosarcoma or topical antimitotic agents. While there is currently no treatment for HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, it can be prevented through vaccination Vaccination Vaccination is the administration of a substance to induce the immune system to develop protection against a disease. Unlike passive immunization, which involves the administration of pre-performed antibodies, active immunization constitutes the administration of a vaccine to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. Vaccination.

Last updated: Sep 29, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Epidemiology

  • HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Most common sexually transmitted infection Sexually Transmitted Infection Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) ( STI STI Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)) globally
    • Affects 75% of sexually active adults in the United States at some point in their life
    • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: 10%–20% in the United States
  • Condylomata acuminata (CA):
    • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: 200 in 100,000 individuals in the United States
    • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: 1% in the United States
    • 80% of infected patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are between 17 and 33 years of age.
    • Peak age at presentation: 22–24 years

Etiology

Condylomata acuminata are specifically lesions created by HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV).

  • HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV):
    • 100 strains described, 40 cause anogenital lesions
    • Types 6 and 11 cause approximately 90% of cases.
    • 90% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with clinical symptoms.
  • Transmission:
    • ⅔ of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who have intercourse with someone with CA develop CA.
    • Skin-to-skin (an STD STD Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs))
    • Autoinoculation Autoinoculation Molluscum Contagiosum
  • Risk factors for development of warts Warts Benign epidermal proliferations or tumors; some are viral in origin. Female Genitourinary Examination:
    • Immunosuppression:
      • Diabetes Diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus
      • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs
      • Immunosuppressive therapy
    • Multiple partners
    • History of STI STI Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (especially chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria. They lack a peptidoglycan layer and are best visualized using Giemsa stain. The family of Chlamydiaceae comprises 3 pathogens that can infect humans: Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Chlamydia and gonorrhea Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the gram-negative bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae). Gonorrhea may be asymptomatic but commonly manifests as cervicitis or urethritis with less common presentations such as proctitis, conjunctivitis, or pharyngitis. Gonorrhea)
    • Young coital age
    • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases increases risk of malignant transformation Transformation Change brought about to an organism’s genetic composition by unidirectional transfer (transfection; transduction, genetic; conjugation, genetic, etc.) and incorporation of foreign DNA into prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells by recombination of part or all of that DNA into the cell’s genome. Bacteriology.

Pathophysiology

Infection to resolution:

  • HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) enters through break in epithelium Epithelium The epithelium is a complex of specialized cellular organizations arranged into sheets and lining cavities and covering the surfaces of the body. The cells exhibit polarity, having an apical and a basal pole. Structures important for the epithelial integrity and function involve the basement membrane, the semipermeable sheet on which the cells rest, and interdigitations, as well as cellular junctions. Surface Epithelium: Histology.
  • HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) infects nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles of differentiated squamous epithelial cells.
  • Long latent phase (1 month to 2 years)
  • Basal cells replicate and rise to epidermal surface (3–4 months to form wart).
  • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions cells shed, with viral particles becoming transmissible.
  • Healthy individuals can clear infection over months to years.

Histopathology

Clinical Manifestation and Diagnosis

Clinical manifestation

Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are often asymptomatic, presenting only for the appearance of lesions. The diagnosis of HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) may cause significant psychosocial distress, given the associated stigma.

  • Lesion characteristics:
    • Exophytic Exophytic Retinoblastoma (cauliflower-like)
    • Sessile: attached by short, broad peduncle (stalk)
    • Flesh-colored or darker
    • < 5 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma; may appears larger when grouped together
    • Often asymptomatic
    • If symptomatic: 
  • Location:

Diagnosis

  • Clinical diagnosis: 
    • Characteristic appearance
    • Appropriate patient population
  • Biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma performed: 
    • To confirm etiology
    • If dysplasia suspected
  • Lesions in inguinal region Inguinal region Anterior Abdominal Wall: Anatomy: Panel to rule out other accompanying STI STI Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Enlarged genital warts in anal region

Multiple enlarged warts Warts Benign epidermal proliferations or tumors; some are viral in origin. Female Genitourinary Examination present in the anal region of a patient

Image: “4151” by Dr. Wiesner. License: Public Domain

Management and Complications

Management

Spontaneous and complete resolution can take up to 24 months.

  • Removal:
  • Topical (antimitotic) agents:
    • Podofilox (derivative of podophyllin) → avoid during pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care
    • Imiquimod Imiquimod A topically-applied aminoquinoline immune modulator that induces interferon production. It is used in the treatment of external genital and perianal warts, superficial carcinoma, basal cell; and actinic keratosis. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars
  • Vaccination Vaccination Vaccination is the administration of a substance to induce the immune system to develop protection against a disease. Unlike passive immunization, which involves the administration of pre-performed antibodies, active immunization constitutes the administration of a vaccine to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. Vaccination (Gardasil):
    • Preventive measure
    • Covers HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11
    • Recommended for children (regardless of sex Sex The totality of characteristics of reproductive structure, functions, phenotype, and genotype, differentiating the male from the female organism. Gender Dysphoria) ages 9–12 years, with 2nd dose after 6 months

Complications

  • After treatment: 
    • Hypopigmentation Hypopigmentation A condition caused by a deficiency or a loss of melanin pigmentation in the epidermis, also known as hypomelanosis. Hypopigmentation can be localized or generalized, and may result from genetic defects, trauma, inflammation, or infections. Malassezia Fungi or scarring Scarring Inflammation
    • Recurrence
  • Psychosocial impact
  • Co-infection with high-risk types of HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV) may result in development of carcinoma.

Differential Diagnosis

  • Condylomata lata Condylomata Lata Syphilis (CL): second stage of syphilis Syphilis Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum pallidum (T. p. pallidum), which is usually spread through sexual contact. Syphilis has 4 clinical stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Syphilis ( STI STI Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) caused by Treponema Treponema Treponema is a gram-negative, microaerophilic spirochete. Owing to its very thin structure, it is not easily seen on Gram stain, but can be visualized using dark-field microscopy. This spirochete contains endoflagella, which allow for a characteristic corkscrew movement. Treponema pallidum): Condylomata lata Condylomata Lata Syphilis present with wartlike lesions that are similar to those of HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV). These lesions are confined to areas with moisture and are usually gray-white in color. The patient may have a history of a chancre Chancre The primary sore of syphilis, a painless indurated, eroded papule, occurring at the site of entry of the infection. Syphilis. Workup must include an STD STD Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) panel.
  • Seborrheic keratosis Seborrheic keratosis Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is the most common benign epithelial cutaneous neoplasm. The condition consists of immature keratinocytes. Seborrheic keratosis is the most common benign skin tumor in middle-aged and elderly adults and presents as a sharply demarcated, exophytic, skin lesion that may be tan or black and has a “stuck-on” appearance. Seborrheic Keratosis ( SK SK Seborrheic keratosis (sk) is the most common benign epithelial cutaneous neoplasm. The condition consists of immature keratinocytes. Seborrheic keratosis is the most common benign skin tumor in middle-aged and elderly adults and presents as a sharply demarcated, exophytic, skin lesion that may be tan or black and has a “stuck-on” appearance. Seborrheic Keratosis): the most common benign Benign Fibroadenoma epithelial cutaneous neoplasm, consisting of immature keratinocytes Keratinocytes Epidermal cells which synthesize keratin and undergo characteristic changes as they move upward from the basal layers of the epidermis to the cornified (horny) layer of the skin. Successive stages of differentiation of the keratinocytes forming the epidermal layers are basal cell, spinous or prickle cell, and the granular cell. Skin: Structure and Functions: Seborrheic keratosis Seborrheic keratosis Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is the most common benign epithelial cutaneous neoplasm. The condition consists of immature keratinocytes. Seborrheic keratosis is the most common benign skin tumor in middle-aged and elderly adults and presents as a sharply demarcated, exophytic, skin lesion that may be tan or black and has a “stuck-on” appearance. Seborrheic Keratosis presents as a sharply demarcated, exophytic Exophytic Retinoblastoma, skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions lesion that may be tan or black and has a “stuck-on” appearance similar to the genital warts Warts Benign epidermal proliferations or tumors; some are viral in origin. Female Genitourinary Examination caused by HPV HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nonenveloped, circular, double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family. Humans are the only reservoir, and transmission occurs through close skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Human papillomaviruses infect basal epithelial cells and can affect cell-regulatory proteins to result in cell proliferation. Papillomavirus (HPV). This condition is usually present on limbs or face. Management is similar to cryotherapy Cryotherapy A form of therapy consisting in the local or general use of cold. The selective destruction of tissue by extreme cold or freezing is cryosurgery. Chondrosarcoma.
  • Molluscum contagious: presents with lesions that are grouped, flesh-colored, dome-shaped papules with central umbilication: Usually seen in children. Management is supportive; may consider cryotherapy Cryotherapy A form of therapy consisting in the local or general use of cold. The selective destruction of tissue by extreme cold or freezing is cryosurgery. Chondrosarcoma for cosmesis.

References

  1. Rosen T. Condylomata acuminata (anogenital warts) in adults: epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis. UpToDate. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/condylomata-acuminata-anogenital-warts-in-adults-epidemiology-pathogenesis-clinical-features-and-diagnosis
  2. Kaderli R, Schnüriger B, Brügger LE. (2014). The impact of smoking on HPV infection and the development of anogenital warts. Int J Colorectal Dis 29(8), 899–908. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24935346/ 
  3. Fleischer AB Jr, Parrish CA, Glenn R, Feldman SR. (2001). Condylomata acuminata (genital warts): patient demographics and treating physicians. Sex Transm Dis 28(11), 643–647. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11677386/ 
  4. Park IU, Introcaso C, Dunne EF. (2015). Human papillomavirus and genital warts: a review of the evidence for the 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines. Clin Infect Dis 61(8), 849–855. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26602622/
  5. Varma S, Lathrop E, Haddad LB. (2013). Pediatric condyloma acuminata. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 26(6), e121–122. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24001431/ 
  6. Maw R, HPV Special Interest Group of BASHH. (2006). Anogenital warts. Sex Transm Infect. 82(4), iv40–41. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17151053/ 

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