Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. About 528,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer contributing to around 266,000 deaths, across the globe every year. Out of these, the burden of 226,000 (85%) deaths occurs in the developing countries, who are less resource intensive to manage the disease. This is despite the fact that cervical cancer is amenable for early detection due to its long and relatively well-known natural history prior to its culmination as invasive disease. Infection with high risk human papillomavirus (hrHPVs) is essential but not sufficient to cause cervical cancer. Although it was thought that genetic mutations alone was sufficient to cause cervical cancer, the current epidemiological and molecular studies have shown that HPV infection along with genetic and epigenetic changes are frequently associated and essential for initiation, development and progression of the disease. Moreover, aberrant DNA methylation in host and HPV genome can be utilized not only as biomarkers for early detection, disease progression, diagnosis and prognosis of cervical cancer but also to design effective therapeutic strategies. In this review, we focus on recent studies on DNA methylation changes in cervical cancer and their potential role as biomarkers for early diagnosis, prognosis and targeted therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes