mRNA-HPV vaccine encoding E6 and E7 improves therapeutic potential for HPV-mediated cancers via subcutaneous immunization

J Med Virol. 2023 Dec;95(12):e29309. doi: 10.1002/jmv.29309.


The E6 and E7 proteins of specific subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV), including HPV 16 and 18, are highly associated with cervical cancer as they modulate cell cycle regulation. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential antitumor effects of a messenger RNA-HPV therapeutic vaccine (mHTV) containing nononcogenic E6 and E7 proteins. To achieve this, C57BL/6j mice were injected with the vaccine via both intramuscular and subcutaneous routes, and the resulting effects were evaluated. mHTV immunization markedly induced robust T cell-mediated immune responses and significantly suppressed tumor growth in both subcutaneous and orthotopic tumor-implanted mouse model, with a significant infiltration of immune cells into tumor tissues. Tumor retransplantation at day 62 postprimary vaccination completely halted progression in all mHTV-treated mice. Furthermore, tumor expansion was significantly reduced upon TC-1 transplantation 160 days after the last immunization. Immunization of rhesus monkeys with mHTV elicited promising immune responses. The immunogenicity of mHTV in nonhuman primates provides strong evidence for clinical application against HPV-related cancers in humans. All data suggest that mHTV can be used as both a therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine.

Keywords: HPV; HPV-mediated cancer; cancer therapy; therapeutic mRNA; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Human Papillomavirus Viruses
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral* / genetics
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins / genetics
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / methods


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins