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Human papillomavirus and tar hypothesis for squamous cell cervical cancer

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Cervical cancer is the second most common life-threatening cancer among women worldwide, with incidence rates ranging from 4.8 per 100,000 in the Middle East to 44.3 per 100,000 in East Africa. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, especially HPV-16 and HPV-18, plays a major role in the etiology of cervical cancer, but HPV alone is not sufficient to induce cancer. We propose that squamous cell cervical cancer is caused by an interaction of oncogenic viruses and cervical tar exposures. Cervical tar exposures occur from cigarette smoking, use of tar-based vaginal douche products (TBD), and long years of inhaling smoke from wood- and coal-burning stoves in poorly ventilated kitchens.

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Correspondence to Harry W. Haverkos.

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Bennett, C., Kuhn, A.E. & Haverkos, H.W. Human papillomavirus and tar hypothesis for squamous cell cervical cancer. J Biosci 35, 331–337 (2010).

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