An overview of early investigational drugs for the treatment of human papilloma virus infection and associated dysplasia

Hampson, Lynne, Martin-Hirsch, Pierre and Hampson, Ian N (2015) An overview of early investigational drugs for the treatment of human papilloma virus infection and associated dysplasia. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 24 (12). pp. 1529-1537. ISSN 1354-3784

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Introduction: High-risk HPV (HR-HPV) related invasive cervical cancer (ICC) causes >270,000 deaths per annum world-wide with over 85% of these occurring in low-resource countries. Ablative and excisional treatment modalities are restricted for use with high-grade pre-cancerous cervical disease with HPV infection and low-grade dysplasia mostly managed by a watch-and-wait policy.Areas Covered: Various pharmacological approaches have been investigated as non-destructive alternatives for the treatment of HR-HPV infection and associated dysplasia. These are discussed dealing with efficacy, ease-of-use (physician or self-applied), systemic or locally applied, side-effects, cost and risks. The main focus is the perceived impact on current clinical practice of a self-applied, effective and safe pharmacological anti-HPV treatment.Expert opinion: Current prophylactic HPV vaccines are expensive, HPV type restricted and have little effect in already infected women. Therapeutic vaccines are under development but are also HPV type-restricted. At present, the developed nations use national cytology screening and surgical procedures to treat only women identified with HPV-related high-grade dysplastic disease. However, since HPV testing is rapidly replacing cytology as the test-of-choice, a suitable topically-applied and low-cost antiviral treatment could be an ideal solution for treatment of HPV infection per se with test-of-cure carried out by repeat HPV testing. Cytology would only then be necessary for women who remained HPV positive. Although of significant benefit in the developed countries, combining such a treatment with self-sampled HPV testing could revolutionise the management of this disease in the developing world which lack both the infrastructure and resources to establish national cytology screening programs.

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