In the pathogenesis of cervical carcinoma there are three major components, two of them related to the role of human papillomaviruses (HPV). First, the effect of viral E6 and E7 proteins. Second, the integration of viral DNA in chromosomal regions associated with well known tumour phenotypes. Some of these viral integrations occur recurrently at specific chromosomal locations, such as 8q24 and 12q15, both harbouring HPV18 and HPV16. And third, there are other recurrent genetic alterations not linked to HPV. Recurrent losses of heterozygosity (LOH) have been detected in chromosome regions 3p14-22, 4p16, 5p15, 6p21-22, 11q23, 17p13.3 without effect on p53, 18q12-22 and 19q13, all of them suggesting the alteration of putative tumour suppressor genes not yet identified. Recurrent amplification has been mapped to 3q+ arm, with the common region in 3q24-28 in 90% of invasive carcinomas. The mutator phenotype, microsatellite instability, plays a minor role and is detected in only 7% of cervical carcinomas. The development of cervical carcinoma requires the sequential occurrence and selection of several genetic alterations. The identification of the specific genes involved, and their correlation with specific tumour properties and stages could improve the understanding and perhaps the management of cervical carcinoma.