Persistent infection with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) is a necessary causal factor in the development of cervical cancer. Moreover, HPV, predominately type 16 and to a lesser degree type 18, is linked causally to varying proportions of other anogenital cancers (vulva, vagina, penis, anus) as well as cancers elsewhere in the body (oropharynx, larynx, conjunctiva). HPV types 6 and 11 cause most of genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Effective prophylactic vaccines have been developed. In this review, we address briefly the immunological aspects of HPV infection and the results of HPV vaccination trials. Internationally standardized monitoring and evaluation of prophylactic HPV vaccination programmes will be essential for arriving at the most cost-effective strategies for cancer control.
© 2010 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Immunology © 2010 British Society for Immunology.