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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

HPV vaccine cuts back cervical cancer rates by 87%

Health Industry Hub | November 5, 2021 |

Pharma News: Cervical cancer rates are 87% lower in women who were offered vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) when they were between the ages of 12-13 than in previous generations confirms a new study published in The Lancet.

The researchers also found reductions in cervical cancer rates of 62% in women offered vaccination between the ages of 14-16, and 34% in women aged of 16-18 when vaccination was introduced.

“Although previous studies have shown the usefulness of HPV vaccination in preventing HPV infection, direct evidence on cervical cancer prevention was limited,” said Professor Peter Sasieni, King’s College London, one of the authors of the paper.

“Early modelling studies suggested that the impact of the vaccination programme on cervical cancer rates would be substantial in women aged 20-29 by the end of 2019. Our new study aimed to quantify this early impact. The observed impact is even greater than the models predicted.”

The study looked at population-based cancer registry data between January 2006 and June 2019 for seven cohorts of women who were between the ages of 20-64 at the end of 2019.

The research found reductions in cervical cancer rates of 87% in women targeted between the ages of 12-13 (89% of whom received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine and 85% of whom had received three jabs and were fully vaccinated), 62% in women potentially vaccinated between the ages of 14-16, and 34% in those eligible for vaccination between the ages of 16-18 (60% of whom received at least one dose and 45% of whom were fully vaccinated). The corresponding reductions in CIN3 rates were 97% in women vaccinated between the ages of 12-13, 75% in women vaccinated between the ages of 14-16 and 39% in women vaccinated between the ages of 16-18.

“This study provides the first direct evidence of the impact of the HPV vaccination campaign on cervical cancer incidence, showing a large reduction in cervical cancer rates in vaccinated cohorts. As expected, vaccination against HPV was most effective in the cohorts vaccinated at ages 12-13 amongst whom the uptake was greatest and prior infection least likely,” said Dr Kate Soldan from the UK Health Security Agency and co-author.

“This represents an important step forwards in cervical cancer prevention. We hope that these new results encourage uptake as the success of the vaccination programme relies not only on the efficacy of the vaccine but also the proportion of the population vaccinated.”

Lucy Elliss-Brookes, Associate Director for Data Curation at NHS Digital and one of the authors of the paper added “The findings of this study are hugely important in encouraging those eligible to take up the vaccine, but also in demonstrating the power of data in helping medical researchers and the NHS to understand what causes cancer and how best to diagnose, prevent and treat it.”

It should also be noted that the bivalent vaccine Cervarix was used in the UK from 2008-2012. Since September 2012, the quadrivalent vaccine MSD’s Gardasil has been used instead.


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