HPV associated disease: shaping the future prevention and management pathway

Infection with HPV is the most important cause of cervical cancer. As such, HPV testing is now being introduced as part of cervical cancer screening. HPV is also involved in the development of other anogenital cancers, which include: vulvar, vaginal, anal and penile cancers. HPV vaccination will help reduce the burden of HPV-associated cancers. The Irish cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck, will begin using HPV testing for cervical screening in late 2018. However, HPV is a very common infection, and in order to avoid following women up unnecessarily, a second round test is required. Existing data from a study called the CERVIVA HPV Primary Screening Study, which describes a panel of second round tests, will be applied to the entire cervical screening population. This will tell us how well the second round tests work on the whole screening population, and will help inform on how to best manage HPV positive women. HPV vaccination will reduce the amount of other non-cervical anogenital cancers. However, there is currently no data relating to the proportion of these cancers that are HPV positive in Ireland. This makes it difficult to determine the effect that HPV vaccination will have on them. This study will identify the amount of anogenital cancers that are positive for HPV, starting with vulvar cancer. This will build evidence around HPV vaccination and the impact on anogenital cancers. Anogenital cancers require further classification, as it is likely different disease sub-groups exist. A mutation in a gene called p53, is often seen in HPV negative anogenital cancers. p53 and HPV may be used to identify distinct disease groups. HPV-PATH will characterise vulvar cancers based on HPV and p53 status and identify if distinct disease groups exist. This research will build capacity to drive change in policy and practice, related to HPV-associated cancers.

Award Date
27 September 2018
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Christine White
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Applying Research into Policy & Practice Postdoctoral Fellowships