Human papillomavirus and cervical cancer: biomarkers for improved prevention efforts

Future Microbiol. 2011 Sep;6(9):1083-98. doi: 10.2217/fmb.11.87.


While organized screening programs in industrialized countries have significantly reduced cervical cancer incidence, cytology-based screening has several limitations. Equivocal or mildly abnormal Pap tests require costly retesting or diagnostic work-up by colposcopy and biopsy. In low-resource countries, it has been difficult to establish and sustain cytology-based programs. Advances in understanding human papillomavirus biology and the natural history of human papillomavirus-related precancers and cancers have led to the discovery of a range of novel biomarkers in the past decade. In this article, we will discuss the potential role of new biomarkers for primary screening, triage and diagnosis in high-resource countries and their promise for prevention efforts in resource constrained settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Genes, Viral
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor