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J Biomed Sci. 2000 Sep-Oct;7(5):341-56.

Preventive and therapeutic vaccines for human papillomavirus-associated cervical cancers.

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Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


'High risk' genotypes of the human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly HPV type 16, are the primary etiologic agent of cervical cancer. Thus, HPV-associated cervical malignancies might be prevented or treated by induction of the appropriate virus-specific immune responses in patients. Sexual transmission of HPV may be prevented by the generation of neutralizing antibodies that are specific for the virus capsid. In ongoing clinical trials, HPV virus-like particles (VLPs) show great promise as prophylactic HPV vaccines. Since the capsid proteins are not expressed at detectable levels by basal keratinocytes, therapeutic vaccines generally target other nonstructural viral antigens. Two HPV oncogenic proteins, E6 and E7, are important in the induction and maintenance of cellular transformation and are coexpressed in the majority of HPV-containing carcinomas. Therefore, therapeutic vaccines targeting these proteins may provide an opportunity to control HPV-associated malignancies. Various candidate therapeutic HPV vaccines are currently being tested whereby E6 and/or E7 are administered in live vectors, in peptides or protein, in nucleic acid form, as components of chimeric VLPs, or in cell-based vaccines. Encouraging results from experimental vaccination systems in animal models have led to several prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine clinical trials. Should they fulfill their promise, these vaccines may prevent HPV infection or control its potentially life-threatening consequences in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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