Human papillomavirus, cancer and vaccination

Isabelle Heard
Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS 2011, 6 (4): 297-302

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: HIV-positive men and women are at greater risk of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers compared with the general population. This study describes recent findings in HPV-related cancers and precancerous lesions and discuss the potential benefit of recently developed prophylactic HPV vaccines.

RECENT FINDINGS: Despite improving access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), particularly in developing countries, the incidence of cervical cancer has not declined and the incidence of anal cancer is still rising in HIV-infected individuals. HIV appears to affect the history of HPV infection, and the distribution of genotypes detected in precancerous lesions in HIV-infected women is not similar to that of the general population. The use of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine has been shown to prevent cervical precursor lesions caused by the vaccine types in women in the general population. Safety and immunogenicity studies of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine in HIV-infected individuals are underway. Efficacy has to be proven in the context of both a different epidemiology of HPV infection and of immunosuppression.

SUMMARY: Recent data imply that the issue of HPV-related cancers will not decline in HIV-infected individuals. Therefore, efficacy studies of HPV vaccines are sorely needed in the setting of HIV.

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