It can be possible to eradicate and eliminate cervical cancer by a widespread vaccination program of human papilloma virus (HPV), claimed researchers of a study that examined cases of 60 million people in a number of affluent nations.
The research found that there was a very significant reduction in the two types of HPV – 16 and 18 – which is the source of about 70 per cent of all cervical cancers, because of the treatment.
After a period of five to eight years of vaccination, there was a reduction of up to 83 per cent in the rates of both types of HPV in high-income countries among girls aged between 13 and 19 years. The same treatment saw a reduction of 66 per cent among women aged between 20 and 24 years.
The research also noted a huge decrease in anogenital wart diagnoses and precancerous cervical lesions which can eventually turn into cancer.
“Because of our finding, we believe the World Health Organisation (WHO) call for action to eliminate cervical cancer may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage can be achieved,” said Professor Marc Brisson, a member of the research team.
Declines in the HPV “endpoints” were found eight to nine years after girls-only vaccination.
The outcome of the research also lends support to the position that was taken recently the WHO over vaccinating multiple age groups instead of using a single cohort at the time of introduction of the vaccine.
Substantial decreases in HPV 16 and 18 has also been seen in previous analysis of studies for four years post-vaccination.
The studies looked at for the new research compared levels of one or more HPV endpoints across pre and post-vaccination periods.
An overall 54 per cent reduction was also found in three other types of HPV – 31, 33 and 45 – in girls aged 13 to 19. Meanwhile, a decrease in anogenital warts of 67 per cent was seen in girls aged 15 to 19, 54 per cent in women aged 20 to 24 and 31 per cent in those aged 25 to 29.
There was a drop of 48 per cent among boys aged 15 to 19 years and a 32 per cent decrease in men aged 20 to 24 years.
Among girls aged 15 to 19 and women aged 20 to 24, there was reduction of 51 per cent and 31 per cent respectively in precancerous cervical lesions within five to nine years after vaccination.
“Our results provide strong evidence that HPV vaccination works to prevent cervical cancer in real-world settings, as both HPV infections that cause most cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions are decreasing,” said Co-researcher Melanie Drolet, from the CHU de Quebec-Laval University Research Centre.
The research “reinforces WHO’s recently revised position on HPV vaccination”, she said. .
Continuing to monitor the effects of the vaccination programmes would now be crucial, said Professor Brisson, from Laval University, Canada.
(Adapted from Independent.co.uk)