New Genetic Risk Factors for Persistent HPV Infections Identified by Researchers


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a prevalent virus that can lead to cancer, especially in cases of persistent infections. A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has identified genetic variants that increase the risk of persistent or frequent HPV infections in certain women. These findings, published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, shed light on the genetic susceptibility to cervical cancer from high-risk HPV infections.

The study, which involved a cohort of over 10,000 women from the African Collaborative Center for Microbiome and Genomics Research (ACCME) cohort study, revealed that specific genetic variants and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes were associated with persistent HPV infections. Lead researcher Sally N. Adebamowo highlighted the importance of these genetic underpinnings in understanding cervical cancer risk and the need for further evaluation of their polygenic risk score models in diverse populations.

The researchers pinpointed genetic variants, such as rs116471799 near the LDB2 gene and those clustered around the TPTE2 gene, as being linked to prevalent high-risk HPV infections and persistent infections, respectively. Additionally, genes SMAD2 and CDH12 showed associations with persistent high-risk HPV infections. These findings allowed the research team to develop polygenic risk scores to assess the likelihood of specific genetic profiles increasing the risk of HPV infections.

The implications of this research are significant for precision cervical cancer prevention strategies tailored to individuals with persistent high-risk HPV infections. The study authors aim to conduct long-term studies integrating polygenic risk scores and genomic risk factors into cervical cancer prevention efforts.

The rise in cervical cancer cases among women aged 30 to 44 underscores the importance of early detection through screening tests. Despite the decline in cervical cancer rates over the past decades, the study emphasizes the need for further research to validate the identified genetic risk factors and reduce the burden of high-risk HPV-related diseases globally.

As the fight against HPV-related diseases continues, these new insights into genetic risk factors for persistent HPV infections offer a promising avenue for targeted prevention efforts and improved outcomes in cervical cancer management.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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