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21 January 2020

HPV vaccine almost eradicates risk of cervical cancer in young women, analysis suggests

A recently published report on the HPV vaccination underestimated the effect of the regime as a new analysis suggests it may be even better in preventing infection than reported.


In a letter published today in The Lancet, a new analysis proposes that the vaccine can prevent 97.6% of infections over the next eight years in vaccinated women and predicts that it almost eliminates the risk of cervical cancer in women vaccinated in early adolescence.

A previously published piece of original research analysing results from 65 articles with data on some 60 million people estimated that vaccination reduced HPV infection in the target population by 70% within 1-4 years of vaccination and by 83% within 5-8 years of vaccination. However, researchers from King’s College London consider the impact on vaccinated girls from 14 countries and concludes that the efficacy is 92% 1-4 years after vaccination and 99.8% 5-8 years after vaccination.

Lead author, Peter Sasieni from King’s said: "Our analysis finds that the near-perfect efficacy of HPV vaccination in randomised controlled trials is realised in real-world settings.

"These results imply that the impact of HPV vaccination on preventing cervical cancer will be even greater than estimated previously."

The authors hope this will influence policymakers to implement HPV vaccination programmes with high coverage in adolescents and to ensure that global vaccine production is increased to meet the consequent demand.

Co-author Jack Cuzick from Queen Mary University of London commented: "Our analysis underlines the importance of achieving high vaccine coverage. Public health practitioners in the UK can be rightly proud of the very high coverage achieved from which we should see near elimination of cervical cancer in young women over the next 15 years. Sadly, countries such as France in which only about 20% of girls have been vaccinated due to widespread distrust of the vaccine will not.”

In this story

Peter  Sasieni

Academic Director of King's Clinical Trials Unit