Statistical Investigation of Immune Cell Interactions in Cervical Cancer

Power in numbers…

According to the WHO World Cancer Report 2012, cervical cancer is the fourth-most common cancer in women, and the second-most common cause of female-specific cancer after breast cancer. The exact causes of cervical cancer are not fully understood, but human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the most important risk factors.

Interactions between particular cell receptors (the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors; KIR) on immune cells, and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules on cells infected with a foreign microorganism, enables the immune system to respond to viral and bacterial threats. We are testing the hypothesis that HLA and KIR interactions are associated with HPV infection (viral clearance, or lack there of in instances in which these interactions are perturbed) and cervical neoplasia through regulating activity of KIR expressing natural killer cells. We are using statistical techniques to look at the co-occurrence of particular KIR and HLA genes a large cohort of 2,143 cervical cancer cases and 13,428 healthy controls of European decent.


Viral anatomy


  • Leo, Paul, Madeleine, Margaret, Wang, Sophia, Schwartz, Stephen, Newell, Felicity, Brown, Matt, other, and (2017) Defining the genetic susceptibility to cervical neoplasia: A genome-wide association study PLoS Genetics, 13 (8), pp.Article number: e1006866 1-20.