BACKGROUND: High-risk HPV subtypes are driving forces for human cancer development: HPV-16 and HPV-18 are responsible for most HPV-caused cancers. OBJECTIVE: This review describes the present knowledge on HR-HPV genomes coding potential for viral miRNAs. METHODS: HPV subtypes miRNA database, VIRmiRtar, has been constructed applying bioinformatics and a computational method, ViralMir, exploiting structural features, the presence of hairpins, and validation by comparison with RNA sequencing datasets. RESULTS: Several miRNA candidates have been localised in the genomes of high-risk HPV subtypes. Among these, HPV-16 miR-1, miR-2 and miR-3. The database contains a list of host candidate gene targets that may be responsible for the oncogenesis in the various cellular environments. CONCLUSION: miRNA silencing therapies, based on specific cellular uptake of miRNA mimics and antagomiRs, directed towards HPV encoded miRNAs and/or microRNAs deregulated in the host cells, could be a valuable approach to support pharmaceutical interventions in the treatment of HPV dependent cancers.
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