New research shows HPV vaccine reduces cervical pre-cancers in young women

September 29, 2016, University of New Mexico Cancer Center

Every 20 minutes, someone in the United States receives a cancer diagnosis related to human papillomavirus. HPV causes cancer of the cervix, anus and throat. The HPV vaccine can prevent infections causing most of these kinds of cancer if people receive it before being exposed to the virus. But fewer than half the girls and boys in the United States get the vaccine. Now, new research published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Oncology, may spur parents, policy makers and medical professionals to think more about the importance of HPV vaccinations. The research shows the HPV vaccine is efficacious in reducing cervical pre-cancers among young women throughout a population.

Cosette Wheeler, PhD, at The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, led the research team and the efforts of the New Mexico Human Papillomavirus Pap Registry, the data source used in the study. The New Mexico HPV Pap Registry is the only statewide surveillance program in the United States that includes complete , diagnosis and treatment information since the HPV vaccine was introduced in 2007. The researchers studied the state's data for young women who received Pap and HPV screening tests and diagnostic and treatment biopsies between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2014.

The researchers found that among women who were 15 to 19 years old at the time of a diagnostic cervical biopsy, the incidence rate of cervical abnormalities, including those that were classified as precancerous lesions, decreased between 2007 and 2014. Among women 20 to 24 years old, the incidence rate of moderate-grade pre-cancerous lesions also decreased. The researchers found all of these changes to be statistically significant.

In 2007, New Mexico began offering the HPV vaccine to females shortly after the United States Food and Drug Administration approved it. In 2008, 48 percent of girls 13 to 17 years old in New Mexico had received at least one HPV vaccine dose and 17 percent received all three doses. By 2014 that percentage increased to 59 percent of girls receiving at least one HPV vaccine dose and 40 percent receiving all three doses. Women aged 11 to 14 in 2007 would have been 18 to 21 in 2014.

In line with previous reports, the researchers suggest several factors likely contributed to the reduced cervical pre-cancer rates. One factor is cross protection, which is the vaccine's ability to protect against additional HPV types that it does not directly target. Another factor is the efficacy of 1, 2 and 3 doses of HPV vaccine. Finally, the third factor is herd immunity, in which those not vaccinated face a lower infection risk because a large portion of the population has been vaccinated. HPV vaccines were licensed for males in 2009 and male vaccination can contribute to herd immunity. New Mexico continues statewide efforts to increase HPV vaccination for males and females.

"These data showing significant reductions in cervical pre-cancers represent the results from the overall population of young females which includes those that are vaccinated and unvaccinated. The data suggests that the age at which we begin cervical screening in the United States might be raised soon to age 25 as is already done in a number of other countries. Raising the age at which we begin cervical screening would be one of the first steps in integrating cervical screening and HPV vaccination, an important step in using healthcare dollars more effectively," says Wheeler. "When cervical cancer screening guidelines are revisited soon, these results from New Mexico may be considered in the review process."

Explore further: HPV vaccine reduced cervical abnormalities in young women

More information: "Population-Based Incidence Rates of Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia in the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Era" September 29, 2016, JAMA Oncology.

Related Stories

HPV vaccine reduced cervical abnormalities in young women

July 4, 2016
Young women who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine through a school-based program had fewer cervical cell anomalies when screened for cervical cancer, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

HPV-cancers on rise in United States

July 7, 2016
The number of cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is on the rise in the United States, reaching nearly 39,000 each year, a US government report said Thursday.

Study finds decreased rates of high-grade cervical lesions in young women

June 22, 2015
A new analysis indicates that rates of high-grade cervical lesions decreased in young U.S. women after vaccines were made available to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), but the trend may be due in part to changes ...

HPV-vaccinated women protect men from infection

August 4, 2016
A Melbourne study has found the first evidence of 'herd protection' from vaccinations against the cervical cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV).

Lower HPV vaccination rates putting girls from ethnic minorities at risk of cancer

November 4, 2013
Girls from some ethnic minorities are less likely to be vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer, according to new research presented at the National Cancer Research ...

Schoolgirl cancer vaccination encourages mothers to attend cervical screening

November 12, 2015
Manchester researchers have shown that the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme for girls has increased uptake for cervical cancer screening by their mothers.

Recommended for you

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018
Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means ...

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

February 23, 2018
A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

February 23, 2018
Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

February 23, 2018
One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Putting black skin cancer to sleep—for good

February 22, 2018
An international research team has succeeded in stopping the growth of malignant melanoma by reactivating a protective mechanism that prevents tumor cells from dividing. The team used chemical agents to block the enzymes ...

Cancer risk associated with key epigenetic changes occurring through normal aging process

February 22, 2018
Some scientists have hypothesized that tumor-promoting changes in cells during cancer development—particularly an epigenetic change involving DNA methylation—arise from rogue cells escaping a natural cell deterioration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.