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DNA sequences of specific human papillomavirus (HPV) types are found integrated in the cell genome in most invasive genital carcinomas. We have determined the chromosomal localization of integrated HPV type 16 (HPV-16) or HPV-18 genomes in genital cancers by in situ hybridization experiments. In three cancers, HPV sequences were localized in chromosome band 8q24.1, in which the c-myc gene is mapped, and in one cancer HPV sequences were localized in chromosome band 2p24, which contains the N-myc gene. In three of the four cases, the proto-oncogene located near integrated viral sequences was found to be structurally altered and/or overexpressed. These data indicate that HPV genomes are preferentially integrated near myc genes in invasive genital cancers and support the hypothesis that integration plays a part in tumor progression via an activation of cellular oncogenes.