Human papillomavirus (HPV) has developed strategies to escape eradication by innate and adaptive immunity. Immune response evasion has been considered an important aspect of HPV persistence, which is the main contributing factor leading to HPV-related cancers. HPV-induced cancers expressing viral oncogenes E6 and E7 are potentially recognized by the immune system. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules are patrolled by natural killer cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes, respectively. This system of recognition is a main target for the strategies of immune evasion deployed by viruses. The viral immune evasion proteins constitute useful tools to block defined stages of the MHC class I presentation pathway, and in this way HPV avoids the host immune response. The long latency period from initial infection to persistence signifies that HPV evolves mechanisms to escape the immune response. It has now been established that there are oncogenic mechanisms by which E7 binds to and degrades tumor suppressor Rb, while E6 binds to and inactivates tumor suppressor p53. Therefore, interaction of p53 and pRb proteins can give rise to an increased immortalization and genomic instability. Overexpression of NF-kB in cervical and penile cancers suggests that NF-kB activation is a key modulator in driving chronic inflammation to cancer. HPV oncogene-mediated suppression of NF-kB activity contributes to HPV escape from the immune system. This review focuses on the diverse mechanisms of the virus immune evasion with HPV that leads to chronic inflammation and cancer.
human papillomavirus, immune evasion, cervical cancer, penile cancer.