Human papillomaviruses are small DNA viruses that cause hyperproliferative lesions of the mucosa and skin. Some HPV types, collectively known as high-risk types, are etiologically associated to cervical cancer and other anogenital malignancies. Infection by these HPV types has been associated to genomic instability, a hallmark of most human malignancies. High-risk HPV types express two oncoproteins, E6 and E7, which target specific cellular factors to promote cell proliferation. Furthermore, these proteins induce structural and numerical chromosome alterations and modulate cellular response to DNA damage. These observations are discussed in the context of cervical carcinogenesis.

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