[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide and is associated with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, creating a unique opportunity to treat cervical cancer through anti-viral vaccination. Although a prophylactic vaccine may be available within a year, millions of women, already infected, will continue to suffer from HPV-related disease, emphasizing the need to develop therapeutic vaccination strategies. A majority of clinical trials examining therapeutic vaccination have shown limited efficacy due to examining patients with more advanced-stage cancer who tend to have decreased immune function. Current trends in clinical trials with therapeutic agents examine patients with pre-invasive lesions in order to prevent invasive cervical cancer. However, longer follow-up is necessary to correlate immune responses to lesion regression. Meanwhile, preclinical studies in this field include further exploration of peptide or protein vaccination, and the delivery of HPV antigens in DNA-based vaccines or in viral vectors. As long as pre-clinical studies continue to advance, the prospect of therapeutic vaccination to treat existing lesions seem good in the near future. Positive consequences of therapeutic vaccination would include less disfiguring treatment options and fewer instances of recurrent or progressive lesions leading to a reduction in cervical cancer incidence.