Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. The primary factor in the development of cervical cancer is infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. It is now known that cervical cancer is a consequence of persistent infection with high-risk type HPV. HPV infection is a necessary factor for the development and maintenance of cervical cancer and thus, effective vaccination against HPV represents an opportunity to control cervical cancer.

A high percentage of cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths occur in developing countries. The primary reason for this disparity is the establishment in developed countries of effective national programs for screening for precursor lesions, high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and removal of these preinvasive lesions by conization or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) etc. Unfortunately there are few such screening programs in developing countries. Furthermore, cervical cancer is more frequently diagnosed at a lower stage.

The primary treatment for cervical cancer is radical hysterectomy and surgical debulking, followed by chemoradiation therapy. Unfortunately, patients with advanced cervical cancer still have a poor prognosis despite undergoing conventional therapy with significant side effects. It is for this reason that new, better targeted approaches to treatment, such as immunotherapy, remain a priority.

Extracted from: Kim D, Gambhira R, Karanam B, Monie A, Hung CF, Roden R, et al. Generation and characterization of a preventive and therapeutic HPV DNA vaccine. Vaccine 2008 Jan 17;26(3):351-60.