In France, this cancer affects nearly 3,000 women, and causes over 1,100 deaths each year.
There are two complementary levers for preventing and detecting the disease, the cervical smear test for women aged 25 to 65 years, and vaccination against HPV. According to the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), nearly 90% of cervical cancers could be prevented by carrying out cervical smear testing every three years.
Cervical cancer is mainly caused by a virus from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family, which is generally transmitted sexually. HPV 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers. In 10% of cases, the infection persists, and can cause lesions in the cervical mucosa that may progress to cancer.
Throughout the year, Inserm researchers are actively involved in research on cervical cancer.
One challenge for researchers is to understand how the human papillomavirus type 16 escapes the host immune response. It is against this background that the team led by Uzma Hasan at Inserm Unit 1111, “International Center for Infectiology Research” (CIRI), is examining the role of IL-1β, a cytokine that plays an essential role in the body’s inflammatory response to infections. According to their latest work, HPV 16 blocks the expression of IL-1β in cells.
Elsewhere, members of Inserm Unit 912, “Economy and Social Sciences, Health Care Systems and Societies” (SESSTIM), are interested in the perceptions and recommendations of general practitioners regarding vaccination against HPV in the context of a recent national survey. This survey shows that 72% of the physicians interviewed regularly recommend the anti-HPV vaccine. However, it emphasises that 60% of participants believe that the potential risks associated with the vaccine are still insufficiently known.