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HPV and Cancer: Future Prospects for Vaccination and Screening

HPV and Cancer
Reported by
Marilynn Larkin

Posted April 29, 2009


Human papillomavirus (HPV) continues to make news and stir controversy. The sexually transmitted pathogen causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. And recently, researchers identified a connection between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer, rates of which have been increasing among young people.

But the implications of the current understanding of HPV-related cancers are not translating seamlessly into a public health agenda, according to experts brought together on March 2, 2009, for a symposium at the Academy. Barriers to HPV vaccine and screening implementation have stymied efforts to reduce the incidence of HPV-induced disease, not only in less developed countries, where the largest proportion of cervical cancers occur, but also to some degree in the United States.

Those involved with public health are working to address concerns of safety, efficacy, and equity of the vaccine and to fill knowledge gaps about HPV infection and consequent health outcomes.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia on this event.


Web Sites

National Cancer Institute: HPV and Cancer Fact Sheet
A question-and-answer format containing information about HPV and cancer.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: HPV Infection
Information about HPV infection in the U.S. including statistics and guidance for parents about the HPV vaccine.

WHO: HPV Vaccine Resources
Guidelines and other policy information for countries and health organizations.


Brown DR, Kjaer SK, Sigurdsson K, et al. 2009. The impact of quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV; Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine on infection and disease due to oncogenic nonvaccine HPV types in generally HPV-naive women aged 16–26 years. J. Infect. Dis. 199: 926-935.

Castle PE, Fetterman B, Poitras N, et al. 2009. Five-year experience of human papillomavirus DNA and papanicolaou test cotesting. Obstet. Gynecol. 113: 595-600.

Franco EL. 2007. Commentary: Health inequity could increase in poor countries if universal HPV vaccination is not adopted. BMJ 335: 378-379. (PDF, 442 KB) Full Text

Franco EL, Cuzick J. 2008. Cervical cancer screening following prophylactic human papillomavirus vaccination. Vaccine 265: A16-A23. (PDF, 384 KB) Full Text

Gillison ML. 2008. Human papillomavirus-related diseases: oropharynx cancers and potential implications for adolescent HPV vaccination. J. Adolesc. Health 43(4 Suppl): S52-S60.

Gillison ML, Chaturvedi AK, Lowy DR. 2008. HPV prophylactic vaccines and the potential prevention of noncervical cancers in both men and women. Cancer 113: 3036-3046.

Herrero R, Hildesheim A, Rodríguez AC, et al. Costa Rica Vaccine Trial (CVT) Group. 2008. Rationale and design of a community-based double-blind randomized clinical trial of an HPV 16 and 18 vaccine in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Vaccine 26: 4795-4808.

Lowy DR, Solomon D, Hildesheim A, et al. 2008. Human papillomavirus infection and the primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer. Cancer 113: 1980-1993.

Meijer CJ, Berkhof J, Castle PE, et al. 2009. Guidelines for human papillomavirus DNA test requirements for primary cervical cancer screening in women 30 years and older. Int. J. Cancer 124: 516-520.

Muñoz N, Franco EL, Herrero R, et al. 2008. Recommendations for cervical cancer prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean. Vaccine 26 Suppl 11:L96-L107. Review.

Rogoza RM, Ferko N, Bentley J, et al. 2008. Optimization of primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention strategies in an era of cervical cancer vaccination: a multi-regional health economic analysis. Vaccine Sep 15; 26 Suppl 5: F46-F58.

Trottier H, Mahmud SM, Lindsay L, et al., GSK HPV-001 Vaccine Study Group. 2009. Persistence of an incident human papillomavirus infection and timing of cervical lesions in previously unexposed young women. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 18: 854-862.

Vidal L, Gillison ML. 2008. Human papillomavirus in HNSCC: recognition of a distinct disease type. Hematol. Oncol. Clin. North Am. 22: 1125-1142.

Winer RL, Harris TG, Xi LF, et al. 2009. Quantitative human papillomavirus 16 and 18 levels in incident infections and cervical lesion development. J. Med. Virol. 81: 713-721.

Winer RL, Hughes JP, Feng Q, et al. 2009. Comparison of incident cervical and vulvar/vaginal human papillomavirus infections in newly sexually active young women. J. Infect. Dis. Feb 1. [Epub ahead of print]


Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD

Ohio State University Medical Center
e-mail | publications

Maura Gillison is professor of medicine and Jeg Coughlin Chair of Cancer Research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital, and Solove Research Institute. Her research established an etiologic role for HPV in the pathogenesis of oral cancers. Gillison's work has spanned the gamut from identifying risk factors for and natural history of oral HPV infection, identifying risk factors and cofactors for HPV-associated cancer, clarifying the clinical and prognostic implications of a diagnosis of HPV-associated oral cancer, and to developing and completing clinical trials of HPV-specific, targeted immunotherapy in human subjects.

Philip Castle, PhD, MPH

National Cancer Institute
e-mail | web site | publications

Philip Castle received his PhD in biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. Castle then did a postdoctoral fellowship in Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, NIDDK, NIH on the molecular biology of the zona pellucida. In 1999, he joined the Cancer Prevention Fellowship at NCI and received his MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2000. He did his Cancer Prevention Fellowship training with NCI's Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch (2000–2003) and joined the branch as a principal investigator in 2003.

Doug Lowy, MD

National Cancer Institute
e-mail | web site | publications

Doug Lowy received his MD from New York University School of Medicine in 1968. Between 1970 and 1973, he was a research associate in the Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. He trained in internal medicine at Stanford University and dermatology at Yale University, and started his laboratory at the NCI in 1975. In addition to his role as chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, Lowy is also chief of the Basic Research Laboratory and serves as a deputy director for the Center for Cancer Research. He has received the Wallace Rowe Award for Virus Research and has been a member of many scientific advisory boards, grants committees, and editorial boards.

Laura A. Koutsky, PhD, MSPH

University of Washington
e-mail | web site | publications

Laura Koutsky is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington. Koutsky's research concerns the acquisition and natural history of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the prevention of HPV-related genital tract neoplasms. She holds a PhD in epidemiology and an MSPH in public health and community medicine from the University of Washington.

Eduardo L. Franco, PhD, MPH

McGill University
e-mail | web site | publications

Eduardo Franco is James McGill Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Epidemiology & Biostatistics and director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill University's Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Canada. His research interests are: epidemiology and prevention of cervical cancer and human papillomavirus-associated diseases, upper aero-digestive tract cancers, and childhood tumors; use of epidemiologic methods for evaluating efficacy of cancer screening; and studies of societal and clinical influences on cancer patient survival.

Marilynn Larkin

Marilynn Larkin is a medical editor, journalist, and videographer based in New York City. Her work has frequently appeared in, among others, The Lancet, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and Reuters Health's professional newswire. She has served as editor of many clinical publications and is author of five medical books for general readers as well as Reporting on Health Risk, a handbook for journalists. She is currently head of publications for The Society for Biomolecular Sciences.