Cervical CancerRSS

Last Updated: February 22, 2012

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What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in the tissues of the cervix. The Cancer Genome Atlas is studying the two main types of cervical cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the thin, flat, squamous cells that line the vagina. Adenocarcinoma arises in the glandular cells in the vagina that secrete mucus. Risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. In the future, the HPV vaccine will lower the infection rate. However, until more of the population is vaccinated, people will continue to be infected and cervical cancer will remain a public health issue. Even though most cervical cancer is discovered through annual pap smears, undiagnosed cancer can be deadly. For 2011 it was predicted that 4,290 women would die from it and 12,710 women would be diagnosed1. View additional information on cervical cancer.

What types of discoveries about cervical cancer do The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers hope to make?

  • Ascertain the molecular characteristics of tumors that spread to other organs as opposed to isolated tumors
  • Identify the molecular signature of cancer associated with HPV and cancer not associated with HPV
  • Characterize the connection between smoking and cervical cancer, including if heavier smoking affects cancer development

Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network’s studies or studies using TCGA data?

View a list of TCGA scientific publications.

Where can I find clinical trials to treat cervical cancer that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?

View a list of NCI-supported cervical cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients.

Selected References

1 American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2011. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2011.