Finding a New Viral Cause of Cervical Cancer

Finding a New Viral Cause of Cervical Cancer

Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV).  In a study published online on April 9 in International Journal of Cancer, Ana Gradissimo, Ph.D., and Robert D. Burk, M.D., provide the first molecular evidence showing that HPV73—now classified as “possibly oncogenic”—definitely can cause cervical cancer. The findings are a matter of public health concern for two key reasons: HPV screening tests aimed at preventing cervical cancer don’t test for HPV73; and since current HPV vaccines don’t include HPV73, they won’t be able to prevent HPV73--related cervical disease.  The researchers recommend that the International Agency for Research on Cancer upgrade HVP73’s classification from possibly carcinogenic to carcinogenic and that public health officials monitor of HPV73’s prevalence in cervical cancer across populations.  Dr. Burk is professor of pediatrics, of microbiology & immunology, of epidemiology & public health, of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, and an attending physician at Montefiore. Dr. Gradissimo is a postdoctoral research fellow at Einstein.

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