Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a family of viruses that is specifically associated with anogenital, or related to the anus and genitals, cancers in humans (1). Many strains of HPV are strongly associated with cervical cancers. HPVs 16, 18, 31, and 45 account for 80% of the reported cases of cervical cancer. Undoubtedly, these strains must be the target of treatment before they can result in cancerous cell proliferation.
Biopsy analysis of cervical cancer samples is often most associated with HPVs 16 and 18; therefore, efforts have been made to ensure that these strains are included in the HPV vaccines. Thus, a new treatment should also focus on other high-risk strains, such as HPVs 31 and 45. Widespread screening for HPV should be conducted regularly to ensure that HPV infections are treated before oncogenes that have the potential to form cancers are activated. Strains that are classified as “potentially carcinogenic” should be studied more until there is concrete evidence that a considerable percentage of cervical cancers develop from these strains.
A good question to ask would be whether different strains of HPV share surface proteins. Research to study the viral capsids of HPV strains should be conducted to minimize the cost of vaccine research and increase vaccine efficacy.
- Sarid R, Gao SJ. 2011. Viruses and Human Cancer: From Detection to Causality. Cancer Lett 305(2): 218-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.09.011.