Persistent infection with certain types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs), termed high risk, presents a public health burden due to their association with multiple human cancers, including cervical cancer and an increasing number of head and neck cancers. Despite the development of prophylactic vaccines, the incidence of HPV-associated cancers remains high. In addition, no vaccine has yet been licensed for therapeutic use against pre-existing HPV infections and HPV-associated diseases. Although persistent HPV infection is the major risk factor for cancer development, additional genetic and epigenetic alterations are required for progression to the malignant phenotype. Unlike genetic mutations, the reversibility of epigenetic modifications makes epigenetic regulators ideal therapeutic targets for cancer therapy. This review article will highlight the recent advances in the understanding of epigenetic modifications associated with HPV infections, with a particular focus on the role of these epigenetic changes during different stages of the HPV life cycle that are closely associated with activation of DNA damage response pathways.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited