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Future Microbiol. 2011 Sep;6(9):1083-98. doi: 10.2217/fmb.11.87.

Human papillomavirus and cervical cancer: biomarkers for improved prevention efforts.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 6120 Executive Blvd EPS 5024, Rockville MD 20852, USA.


While organized screening programs in industrialized countries have significantly reduced cervical cancer incidence, cytology-based screening has several limitations. Equivocal or mildly abnormal Pap tests require costly retesting or diagnostic work-up by colposcopy and biopsy. In low-resource countries, it has been difficult to establish and sustain cytology-based programs. Advances in understanding human papillomavirus biology and the natural history of human papillomavirus-related precancers and cancers have led to the discovery of a range of novel biomarkers in the past decade. In this article, we will discuss the potential role of new biomarkers for primary screening, triage and diagnosis in high-resource countries and their promise for prevention efforts in resource constrained settings.

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