human papillomavirus


human papillomavirus
human papillomavirus [pap΄i lō′mə vī΄rəs]
n.
any of a group of papillomaviruses causing cutaneous warts and lesions of the oral, anal, and genital mucous membranes in human beings

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Introduction

      any of a subgroup of viruses (virus) belonging to the family Papovaviridae that infect humans, causing warts (wart) (papillomas) and other benign tumours (tumour), as well as cancers (cancer) of the genital tract and of the uterine cervix in women. They are small polygonal viruses containing circular double-stranded DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid); more than 70 distinct types of HPVs have been identified by DNA analysis.

       skin warts are of two types, flat warts (which are superficial and usually on the hands) and plantar warts (on the soles of the feet and on the toes). Genital and venereal warts (condylomata acuminata) are caused by other types of HPVs. Most papillomas, whether found on the skin or in the mucous membranes of the genital, anal, or oral cavities, are benign and may actually go unnoticed for years. However, a minority of genital and venereal warts are visible, painful, or itchy. The HPVs that cause these warts are transmitted by sexual intercourse, and it is estimated that about 10 percent of the adult population in developed countries has papilloma infections of the genital tract.

Human papillomavirus and cancer
      A number of HPVs have been linked with various precancerous lesions and malignant tumours, especially cervical cancers (cervical cancer). In fact, one or more of these high-risk type HPVs has been found in more than 90 percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer. Some examples of high-risk strains include HPV-16, -18, -31, -33, and -35, in addition to many others. These strains are considered high-risk because they have been linked to genital and anal cancers. In particular, HPV-16 and HPV-18 are found in the majority of squamous-cell carcinomas (carcinoma) of the uterine cervix. Genital warts with low malignant potential are associated with HPV-6 and HPV-11.

      When HPV infects a cell, it integrates its DNA into the genome (human genome) of the cell (called the host cell). At this point the virus does not reproduce but only produces the proteins (protein) necessary to commandeer the DNA synthesis machinery of the host cell. Two of these viral genes (gene), E6 and E7, can act as oncogenes (oncogene) (cancer-inducing genes). The proteins they encode bind to the protein products of two important tumour suppressor genes (tumour suppressor gene), p53 and RB, respectively, blocking the actions of these proteins and allowing the cell to grow and divide.

      The E6 and E7 proteins of HPV-16 and HPV-18 bind to the RB and p53 proteins very tightly; in contrast, the E6 and E7 proteins of HPV-6 and HPV-11 (the low-risk types) bind RB and p53 with low affinity. The differences in binding ability of these proteins correlate with their ability to activate cell growth, and they are consistent with the differences in the malignant potential of these virus strains.

Prevention and treatment
      Limiting the number of sexual partners can reduce the risk of HPV infection. It is unclear whether or not condoms (condom) can prevent the transmission of HPV (though condoms can prevent the transmission of most other sexually transmitted diseases (sexually transmitted disease)). The first vaccine against HPV was developed by Australian immunologist Ian Frazer (Frazer, Ian) and was approved for use in young women in 2006. The vaccine is effective against HPV-16 and HPV-18 and thus can prevent most cases of cervical cancer in women who have never been infected with the virus. The vaccine is also effective against two low-risk strains, HPV-6 and HPV-11. In women the presence of HPV can be detected through an ordinary Pap smear, and in women over age 30 an HPV DNA test designed specifically for the detection of cancerous strains of the virus may be used in conjunction with a Pap smear. Though HPV is common in men, the incidence of disease caused by the virus is very low relative to women, and infection rarely produces symptoms. As a result, there is no test to detect HPV in men. The development of an HPV vaccine for young men that is similar to that given to young women has been considered, though it is not clear whether such a vaccine would be able to prevent infection or prevent viral transmission to women.

      There is no cure for HPV. In the case of benign infections, treatment is typically aimed at relieving symptoms of itchiness or pain. In some cases cryotherapy (freezing), LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision; heating), or cone biopsy may be used to remove genital warts or abnormal HPV-infected cells.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • human papillomavirus — [pap΄i lō′mə vī΄rəs] n. any of a group of papillomaviruses causing cutaneous warts and lesions of the oral, anal, and genital mucous membranes in human beings …   English World dictionary

  • Human papillomavirus — Taxobox image size = 190px image caption =EM of papillomavirus virus group = i ordo = Unranked familia = Papillomaviridae subdivision ranks = Genera subdivision = Alphapapillomavirus Betapapillomavirus Gammapapillomavirus Mupapillomavirus… …   Wikipedia

  • human papillomavirus — an icosahedral DNA virus, 55 nm in diameter, of the genus Papillomavirus, family Papovaviridae; certain types cause cutaneous and genital warts; other types are associated with severe cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and …   Medical dictionary

  • human papillomavirus — noun Date: 1983 any of numerous papillomaviruses that cause various human warts (as plantar warts and genital warts) including some associated with the production of cervical cancer abbreviation HPV …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • human papillomavirus — noun : any of numerous papillomaviruses that cause various human warts (as the common warts of the hands, plantar warts, and genital warts) including some associated with the production of cervical cancer …   Useful english dictionary

  • human papillomavirus — noun A virus that affects humans, sometimes causing cervical or other cancer; it is sometimes classified as a sexually transmitted disease …   Wiktionary

  • human papillomavirus — HPV a virus – a member of the papovavirus group – that causes warts, including genital warts. There are over 50 strains of HPV: certain strains are considered to be causative factors in the development of anal and genital cancers, especially… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • human papillomavirus — hu′man papillo′mavirus n. mcr the virus that causes genital warts …   From formal English to slang

  • human papillomavirus — /hjumən pæpəˈloʊməvaɪrəs/ (say hyoohmuhn papuh lohmuhvuyruhs) noun any of various sexually transmitted papillomaviruses in humans, some of which cause genital infections, with one obvious symptom being genital warts …   Australian English dictionary

  • human papillomavirus — HPV. A member of a family of viruses that can cause abnormal tissue growth (for example, genital warts) and other changes to cells. Infection with certain types of HPV increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. Also called HPV …   English dictionary of cancer terms


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