This Type of Cervical Cancer is Increasing and Hard to Prevent

This Type of Cervical Cancer is Increasing and Hard to Prevent

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. However, generations of women will not benefit from the HPV vaccine, introduced about 15 years ago to prevent HPV infection. There are two major types of cervical cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Cervical screening programs can detect precancerous lesions that lead to the development of squamous cell carcinomas. Unfortunately, cervical-cancer screening is less effective in preventing adenocarcinomas, and they represent an increasing proportion of all cervical cancers in the USA. A better understanding of factors associated with cervical adenocarcinoma tumor development is needed to find molecular markers that can be used to detect these lesions at an early precancerous stage.

Robert Burk, M.D., and Howard Strickler, M.D., have received a five-year, $2.8 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to find and evaluate molecular markers within human cervical cancer samples that will provide early warning signs of cervical adenocarcinomas. The researchers will use HPV genotypes, HPV viral and host gene epigenetics, and HPV viral integration assays to develop a model that predicts the risk for adenocarcinomas. The project is a collaboration with the NCI and Northern California Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Burk is professor of pediatrics, of microbiology & immunology, of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein, and an attending physician at Montefiore. Dr. Strickler is professor and division head of epidemiology & population health and the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Epidemiology & Population Health at Einstein. The project also involves Nan Xue, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. (1U01CA238592-01A1).

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