Cervical cancer risk profiling: molecular biomarkers predicting the outcome of hrHPV infection

Mariano A. Molina, Ludovica Carosi Diatricch, Marina Castany Quintana, Willem J.G. Melchers, Karolina M. Andralojc

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Cervical cancer affects half a million women worldwide annually. Given the association between high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection and carcinogenesis, hrHPV DNA testing became an essential diagnostic tool. However, hrHPV alone does not cause the disease, and, most importantly, many cervical lesions regress to normal in a year because of the host immune system. Hence, the low specificity of hrHPV DNA tests and their inability to predict the outcome of infections have triggered a further search for biomarkers. Areas covered: We evaluated the latest viral and cellular biomarkers validated for clinical use as primary screening or triage for cervical cancer and assessed their promise for prevention as well as potential use in the future. The literature search focused on effective biomarkers for different stages of the disease, aiming to determine their significance in predicting the outcome of hrHPV infections. Expert opinion: Biomarkers such as p16/Ki-67, hrHPV genotyping, hrHPV transcriptional status, and methylation patterns have demonstrated promising results. Their eventual implementation in the screening programs may support the prompt diagnosis of hrHPV infection and its progression to cancer. These biomarkers will help in making clinical management decisions on time, thus, saving the lives of hrHPV-infected women, particularly in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1120
Number of pages22
JournalExpert review of molecular diagnostics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cervical cancer
  • hrHPV
  • molecular biomarkers
  • prevention
  • risk prediction
  • screening

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