Chapter 1: HPV in the etiology of human cancer

Vaccine. 2006 Aug 31;24 Suppl 3:S3/1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.05.115. Epub 2006 Jun 23.


The causal role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in all cancers of the uterine cervix has been firmly established biologically and epidemiologically. Most cancers of the vagina and anus are likewise caused by HPV, as are a fraction of cancers of the vulva, penis, and oropharynx. HPV-16 and -18 account for about 70% of cancers of the cervix, vagina, and anus and for about 30-40% of cancers of the vulva, penis, and oropharynx. Other cancers causally linked to HPV are non-melanoma skin cancer and cancer of the conjunctiva. Although HPV is a necessary cause of cervical cancer, it is not a sufficient cause. Thus, other cofactors are necessary for progression from cervical HPV infection to cancer. Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives, high parity, tobacco smoking, and co-infection with HIV have been identified as established cofactors; co-infection with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2), immunosuppression, and certain dietary deficiencies are other probable cofactors. Genetic and immunological host factors and viral factors other than type, such as variants of type, viral load and viral integration, are likely to be important but have not been clearly identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / virology
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / virology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / virology*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology
  • Papillomaviridae / classification
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / virology