Worldwide, cervical cancer is both the fourth most common cause of cancer and the fourth most common cause of death from cancer in women. Cervical cancer is mainly known to be caused by some types of human papilloma virus (HPV).
Two vaccines have market approval in many countries as of 2014 (called Gardasil and Cervarix in the US). The efficacy of vaccines for HPV s debatable. New research says that the latest HPV vaccine can potentially prevent an astonishing 80 % of cervical cancers in the United States.
The study says the vaccine has an efficacy of 80 % if it’s given to all 11- or 12-year-old children before they are exposed to the virus. The results were published in the JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The new 9-Valent human papillomavirus vaccine, which includes seven cancer causing HPV-types – 16,18,31,33,45,52 and 58 – protects against cervical cancer and also has the potential to protect against nearly 19,000 other cancers diagnosed in the United States, including anal, oropharyngeal and penile cancers. This is a 13 % boost in protection against HPV-related cancers compared to the very first vaccines on the market, Gardasil and Cervarix, which only protected against HPV types 16 and 18.
“This is the first comprehensive study of its kind and shows the potential to not only reduce the global cancer burden, but also guide clinical decision-making with regard to childhood vaccinations,” Marc T. Goodman, the study’s senior author and director of Cancer Prevention and Genetics at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, said in a press release.
The latest 9-Valent vaccine (commonly known as Gardasil-9) hopefully will reduce the number of cervical cancer cases.
“We found that 70 percent of patient DNA tissue samples with cancer of the oropharynx harbored HPV,” added Goodman. “This is a much higher percentage of HPV than observed in other studies, likely because of changes in sexual behaviors, such as increased oral-genital contact.”
The 9-Valent vaccine was also found to potentially increase protection from other HPV-related cancers including those of the vulva, vagina, the penis and the anus. Study authors intend to perform additional research in the future to follow up on their estimate of how well the current vaccines protect against HPV-associated cancers.