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High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is known to be a necessary factor for cervical and anogenital malignancies. Cervical cancers account for over a quarter of a million deaths annually. Despite the availability of prophylactic vaccines, HPV infections remain extremely common worldwide. Furthermore, these vaccines are ineffective at clearing pre-existing infections and associated preinvasive lesions. As cervical dysplasia can regress spontaneously, a therapeutic HPV vaccine that boosts host immunity could have a significant impact on the morbidity and mortality associated with HPV. Therapeutic vaccines differ from prophylactic vaccines in that they are aimed at generating cell-mediated immunity rather than neutralising antibodies. This review will cover various therapeutic vaccine strategies in development for the treatment of HPV-associated lesions and cancers.

Original publication




Journal article


Best practice & research. Clinical obstetrics & gynaecology

Publication Date



Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford and Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, NDM Research Building, Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford, UK. Electronic address: