Alterations in the expression and activity of extracellular matrix components in HPV-associated infections and diseases






Infection with human papillomaviruses is associated with a series of benign and malignant hyperproliferative diseases that impose a heavy burden on human populations. A subgroup of mucosal human papillomavirus types are associated with the majority of cervical cancers and a relevant fraction of vulvar, vaginal, anal, penile and head and neck carcinomas. Human papillomaviruses mediate cell transformation by the expression of two pleiotropic oncoproteins that alter major cellular regulatory pathways. However, these viruses are not complete carcinogens, and further alterations within the infected cells and in their microenvironment are necessary for tumor establishment and progression. Alterations in components of the extracellular matrix for instance, matrix metalloproteinases and some of their regulators such as tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases, have been consistently reported in human papillomaviruses-associated diseases. Matrix metalloproteinases function by remodeling the extracellular matrix and alterations in their expression levels and/or activity are associated with pathological processes and clinical variables including local tumor invasion, metastasis, tumor relapse and overall patient prognosis and survival. In this review we present a summarized discussion on the current data concerning the impact of human papillomavirus infection on the activity and expression of extracellular matrix components. We further comment on the possibility of targeting extracellular matrix molecules in experimental treatment protocols.

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