Abstract. Tjiong MY, Out TA, ter Schegget J, Burger MPM, van der Vange N. Epidemiologic and mucosal immunologic aspects of HPV infection and HPV-related cervical neoplasia in the lower female genital tract: a review.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of cervical neoplasia. Considering the morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer, infection with HPV can be regarded as a worldwide problem, especially in developing countries. Currently, many studies focus on the development of both prophylactic and therapeutic HPV vaccines. Crucial for these vaccination protocols to be successful is that they will result in a long-lasting ability to generate an immune response that will eliminate the virus. HPV transmission and subsequent infection is a local event in the lower female genital tract and therefore the efficacy of vaccines against this locally transmitted infection can be best assessed by parameters of local immunity. In this review we describe both the epidemiology of HPV-related cervical neoplasia and the general aspects of mucosal immunity in the female genital tract while focusing on the local humoral immunity in HPV-related cervical neoplasia.