An immune stimulating agent, inosiplex, seems to be an effective treatment for genital warts of the cervix that don’t get better with conventional therapies, a small study suggests.
Conventional treatment for genital warts, which are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), typically focuses on the visible lesions, leaving the possibility that latent infection could persist. That can result in transmission of the virus to sexual partners, and the infection could progress to cervical cancer.
In theory, treatment might be improved with an agent that is taken orally, such inosiplex. The product is also known as inosine, and by the brand name Isoprinosine.
As reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. S. Georgala from the ‘A. Sygros’ Hospital in Athens, and colleagues studied 38 women with cervical warts who were randomly assigned to treatment with inosiplex or to an inactive ‘placebo’ for 12 weeks. All of the women had been unsuccessfully treated previously with at least one conventional therapy.
In the inosiplex group, 4 of 17 women available for follow-up evaluation had a total clearance of cervical lesions. A partial response - a reduction in the affected area by 50 percent or greater - was seen in 7 women, while 6 women did not respond.
Moreover, the women with a complete response continued to be disease-free at 12 months.
By contrast, the majority of patients given the placebo - 16 of 19 - showed no clearance of cervical warts. The other 3 showed a partial clearance.
Inosiplex was well tolerated and was associated with only mild, transient side effects, the report indicates.
“Considering the multifocal nature of HPV infection and its predilection for difficult-to-approach sites, systemic treatment with inosiplex seems to be an interesting and promising therapeutic alternative,” the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, September 2006.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD