Herpes Simplex Virus, Human Papillomavirus,
and Cervical Cancer: Overview, Relationship, and Treatment Implications
There is a significant body of research examining the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer, with a particular emphasis on the oncogenic proteins E5, E6, and E7. What is less well explored, however, is the relationship between cervical cancer and herpes simplex virus (HSV). To date, studies examining the role of HSV in cervical cancer pathogenesis have yielded mixed results. While several experiments have determined that HPV/HSV-2 coinfection results in a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, others have questioned the validity of this association. However, clarifying the potential role of HSV in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer may have significant implications for both the prevention and treatment of this disease. Should this relationship be clarified, treating and preventing HSV could open another avenue with which to prevent cervical cancer. The importance of this is highlighted by the fact that, despite the creation of an effective vaccine against HPV, cervical cancer still impacts 604,000 women and is responsible for 342,000 deaths annually. This review provides an overview of HSV and HPV infections and then delves into the possible links between HPV, HSV, and cervical cancer. It concludes with a summary of preventive measures against and recent treatment advances in cervical cancer.