HPV Vaccination Substantially Protects Women From Cancer

Young women benefit from HPV vaccination
young girl on ferry boat

According to a new study from Sweden, women between the ages of 10 to 30 years old, substantially reduced their risk of invasive cervical cancer following quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

The efficacy and effectiveness of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine in preventing high-grade cervical lesions reached 88 percent for the younger women who participated in this extensive study.

Published in the NEJM on October 1, 2020, this study evaluated 1,672,983 women for cervical cancer until their 31st birthday. Cervical cancer was diagnosed in 19 women who had received the quadrivalent HPV vaccine and in 538 women who had not received the vaccine. 

The cumulative incidence of cervical cancer was 47 cases per 100,000 persons among women who had been vaccinated and 94 cases per 100,000 persons among those who had not been vaccinated. 

After adjustment for age at follow-up, the incidence rate ratio for the comparison of the vaccinated population with the unvaccinated population was 0.51 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.82). 

And after additional adjustment for other covariates, the incidence rate ratio was 0.37 (95% CI, 0.21 to 0.57). 

Furthermore, after adjustment for all covariates, the incidence rate ratio was 0.12 (95% CI, 0.00 to 0.34) among women who had been vaccinated before the age of 17 years and 0.47 (95% CI, 0.27 to 0.75) among women who had been vaccinated at the age of 17 to 30 years.

"Our results also support the recommendation to administer quadrivalent HPV vaccine before exposure to HPV infection to achieve the most substantial benefit, since vaccination has no therapeutic effect against preexisting HPV infection,” stated the study authors.

"Unvaccinated persons would indirectly benefit from HPV vaccination if vaccination coverage of girls and women in a population exceeds 50%," they added. "A herd effect of HPV vaccination against genital warts has been observed previously in the Swedish population."

Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated its guideline for HPV vaccination on July 8, 2020. The ACS’s new recommendations are for healthcare providers to routinely offer the HPV vaccine series to boys and girls between ages 9 and 12.

There are safe and effective HPV vaccines that can protect males and females against cancers caused by HPV. These vaccines include 9vHPV, 4vHPV, and/or 2vHPV, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vax-Before-Cancer publishes research-based cancer news.