Condyloma acuminatum of the vulva

by Emily Goebel, MD FRCPC
June 1, 2022

What is condyloma acuminatum of the vulva?

Condyloma acuminatum is a common, non-cancerous growth on the vulva caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus infects squamous cells normally found on the surface of the vulva. There are many different types of HPV and condyloma acuminatum is commonly caused by HPV types 6 or 11. This condition is also known as a genital wart.

Can condyloma acuminatum turn into cancer?

Condyloma acuminatum is not associated with an increased risk for cancer.

How is the diagnosis of condyloma acuminatum made?

This diagnosis of condyloma acuminatum is usually made after a small sample of tissue is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. A separate procedure may then be performed to remove the entire tumour.

What does condyloma acuminatum look like under the microscope?

When examined under the microscope, condyloma acuminatum is made up of long finger-like projections of tissue called papilla. The layer of squamous cells on the surface of the tissue is typically thicker than normal. Pathologists describe this change as acanthosis or hyperplasia. Abnormal-looking squamous cells called koilocytes may also be seen. Pathologists use the term koilocytes to describe squamous cells that are larger than normal and have a clear space or ‘halo’ around the nucleus of the cell. Koilocytes are cells that have been infected with HPV.

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