They found that some pre-cancerous lesions helped the immune system eliminate the human papillomavirus. However, those lesions also set the stage for the beginning of invasive cancer.
Researchers have identified the gene responsible for this process. They say the findings suggest it could be dangerous to use treatments that cure the virus in women who show signs of HPV integration.
“If we are right, we can establish what population of women can benefit from vaccines and antiviral treatments and which population will not benefit or may suffer,” said Dr. Andrey Morgun, OSU College of Pharmacy.
HPV causes cervical cancer in one-percent of infected women. Doctors say more research will help identify which lesions will turn into cancer and which will not.