Data from four case-control studies on invasive cervical cancer and on cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade III (CIN III) that were concurrently conducted in Spain and Colombia were used to look for factors that might favor the progression from CIN III to the invasive stage. These studies were compared in two ways; a case-case comparison and an estimation of the ratio of odds ratios with the use of of special logistic regression model that took into account the different design of each study and possible confounding factors. Variables studied were human papillomavirus status, viral load, viral types, sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive patterns, oral contraceptives, and smoking. Both CIN III and invasive cervical cancer have a very similar profile of risk factors and none of them was different in a consistent way to suggest a role in the progression from CIN III to invasive cervical cancer. Some methodological problems such as cohort-specific differences and some selection biases could be adjusted for with a careful statistical analysis. Other problems derived from the cross-sectional nature of the design are unavoidable and should be considered in the interpretation of the results.

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