Prevention: HPV Vaccine Shows Reduced Recurrence
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
A new study suggests that the vaccine against human papillomavirus can significantly cut the likelihood of virus-related disease even among women who have had surgery for cervical cancer caused by HPV.
Using data from a large randomized efficacy trial of the HPV vaccine, the researchers selected a group of 1,350 women 15 to 26 years old who had undergone cervical surgery. Some 587 previously had received the HPV vaccine and 763 a placebo shot.
Those who had gotten the vaccine were 46 percent less likely to suffer subsequent HPV-related disease over the following two years. The effect among women with the most serious kinds of cancer was even stronger: a reduction in risk of 64 percent among those who were vaccinated, compared with those who got a placebo.
The lead author, Dr. Elmar A. Joura, an associate professor of gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna, said that many people believe that the vaccination is useful only in sexually naïve girls, and indeed it is most effective in that group.
But women who have had an HPV-related infection are at high risk for recurrence, and Dr. Joura believes it is important to vaccinate them as well: “Regardless of your age or your history, a vaccination can prevent new disease.”
The study was published March 27 in the journal BMJ.