SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
Cervical cancer is the leading gynaecological malignancy in southern Africa. The main causal factor for development of the disease is infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus. It is a multi-step disease with several contributing co-factors including multiple sexual partners, a compromised immune system and cervical inflammation caused by infections with Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Inflammation involves extensive tissue remodelling events which are orchestrated by complex networks of cytokines, chemokines and bio-active lipids working across multiple cellular compartments to maintain tissue homeostasis. Many pathological disorders or diseases, including cervical cancer, are characterised by the exacerbated activation and maintenance of inflammatory pathways. In this review we highlight our findings pertaining to activation of inflammatory pathways in cervical cancers, addressing their potential role in pathological changes of the cervix and the significance of these findings for intervention strategies.