Recent research has shed light on the types of HPV (human papillomavirus) that are responsible for most of the cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common kind of cancer among women and is expected to kill 328,000 women this year, so hopefully this research will have significant impact on vaccine development for this cancer.
A large scale study spanning 60 years and data from 38 countries and more than ten thousand cases of invasive cervical cancer has been conducted by an international team of scientists led by Silvia de Sanjose of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona.
As a result of this, it has been possible to identify the 8 types of HPV responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
Researchers found that it was types 16, 18, 45, 33, 31, 52, 58, and 35 (in descending order of frequency) that were responsible for cervical cancer in 90% or more cases.
This research will make existing vaccines more efficacious against cervical cancer. The trend of vaccinating girls before they become sexually active to prevent HPV infections and hence cervical cancer, is already present in developed counties, however this is not the case in poorer nations.