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The natural history of condyloma in children.

BACKGROUND: Condyloma acuminatum, an infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), has become one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Correspondingly, anogenital warts are more frequently diagnosed in children. Twenty-five years ago a landmark prospective study showed that untreated common cutaneous warts in children spontaneously regress within 2 years in two thirds of cases, but a similar study of condyloma has not been published. Several treatment options are available for condyloma in adults; none have been studied or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of children.

OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to review a cohort of children with condyloma to determine the natural history.

METHODS: Of 75 originally identified subjects with condyloma, 41 qualified for further retrospective or prospective evaluation, including distribution of lesions, duration of disease, gender, and treatment, if any.

RESULTS: Overall, condylomas in 31 of 41 children (76%) experienced resolution. Spontaneous resolution occurred within 5 years in 22 of 41 subjects (54%), including 6 of 8 (75%) who never received treatment, and 16 of 33 (49%) in whom treatment failed. In 9 of 33 treated children (27%), resolution occurred during treatment. Girls presented three times more often than boys and resolution occurred comparatively more often in girls.

CONCLUSION: Spontaneous resolution of pediatric condyloma occurred in more than half of our subjects. Nonintervention is a reasonable initial approach to managing venereal warts in children.

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