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Virus Res. 2009 Aug;143(2):195-208. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Oncogenic activities of human papillomaviruses.

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Infectious Diseases Division, Channing Laboratories, 181 Longwood Avenue, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Infectious etiologies for certain human cancers have long been suggested by epidemiological studies and studies with experimental animals. Important support for this concept came from the discovery by Harald zur Hausen's group that human cervical carcinoma almost universally contains certain "high-risk" human papillomavirus (HPV) types. Over the years, much has been learned about the carcinogenic activities of high-risk HPVs. These studies have revealed that two viral proteins, E6 and E7, that are consistently expressed in HPV-associated carcinomas, are necessary for induction and maintenance of the transformed phenotype. Hence, HPV-associated tumors are unique amongst human solid tumors in that they are universally caused by exposure to the same, molecularly defined oncogenic agents, and the molecular signal transduction pathways subverted by these viral transforming agents are frequently disrupted in other, non-virus-associated human cancers.

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