Cancer Prevention: Lessons Learned and Future Directions.
Persistent infection by one of 15 high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) types is a necessary but not sufficient cause of 5% of all human cancers. This provides a remarkable opportunity for cancer prevention via immunization. Since Harald zur Hausen's pioneering identification of hrHPV types 16 and 18, found in approximately 50% and 20% of cervical cancers, respectively, two prophylactic HPV vaccines containing virus-like particles (VLP) of each genotype have been widely licensed. These vaccines are beginning to affect infection and HPV-associated neoplasia rates after immunization campaigns in adolescents. Here, we review recent progress and opportunities to better prevent HPV-associated cancers, including broadening immune protection to cover all hrHPV types, reducing the cost of HPV vaccines especially for developing countries that have the highest rates of cervical cancer, and immune-based treatment of established HPV infections. Screening based upon George Papanicolaou's cervical cytology testing, and more recently detection of hrHPV DNA/RNA, followed by ablative treatment of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2/3) have substantially reduced cervical cancer rates, and we examine their interplay with immune-based modalities for the prevention and eventual elimination of cervical cancer and other HPV-related malignancies.