Immune evasion mechanisms of human papillomavirus: An update

Int J Cancer. 2018 Jan 15;142(2):224-229. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31027. Epub 2017 Sep 13.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most frequently sexually transmitted agent in the world. It can cause cervical and other anogenital malignancies, and oropharyngeal cancer. HPV has the unique ability to persist in the host's epithelium for a long time-longer than most viruses do-which is necessary to complete its replication cycle. To this end, HPV has developed a variety of immune evasion mechanisms, which unfortunately also favor the progression of the disease from infection to chronic dysplasia and eventually to cancer. This article summarizes the current knowledge about HPV immune evasion strategies. A special emphasis lies in HPV-mediated changes of the antigen processing machinery, which is generating epitopes for T cells and contributes to the detectability of infected cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion / immunology*
  • Papillomaviridae / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology