Human Papillomavirus Research Where Should We Place Our Bets

Kate Cuschieri, Attila Lorincz, Belinda Nedjai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Massive strides have been made with respect to primary and secondary prevention of HPV-associated disease as a result of prophylactic vaccination and cervical screening based on molecular HPV testing. However, cervical cancer continues to be an important clinical and societal burden. Additionally, other HPV-associated cancers for which there are no screening programmes are rising. Finally, the optimal combination of vaccination and screening strategies will require careful thinking. Considering this unprecedented and important time, we were keen to solicit the views of the expert community to determine what they perceived were the key priorities for HPV research. Our objective was to identify consensus and key priorities for HPV-based research through provision of a questionnaire disseminated to a multidisciplinary group of key opinion leaders (KOLs)

A structured survey composed of 46 HPV research “categories” was sent to 73 KOLs who were invited to “rank” the categories according to priority. The invitees represented clinical and public health disciplines as well as basic scientists. Scores were weighted according to the number of responses. Invitees also had the opportunity to comment on barriers to the research and suggest other research areas that required attention not reflected in the survey.
We received 29 responses in total; overall, the 3 highest ranked categories were “optimal cervical screening in low and middle-income countries (LMIC)”, “primary disease prevention in LMIC” and “impact of vaccine on HPV infection and associated disease”. “HPV and the microbiome” and “mechanisms of transformation” were the highest ranked categories with respect to basic research. Consistent barriers to research were around governance on the use of samples and data and funding, particularly in an era of vaccination.

Key Messages
Research to support the management of disease in LMIC is clearly perceived as a priority in the international community in addition to other diverse areas which necessitate an improved basic understanding of viral mechanisms and interactions. International, multi-disciplinary efforts which articulate the broader HPV research agenda will be important when seeking funding in addition to international endeavours to support the efficient use of existing samples and cohorts to facilitate such research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalActa cytologica
Issue number2
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2019


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