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HPV vaccine effective against infection at multiple sites

, by DCEG Staff

Image of a girl being vaccinated.

Vaccination against high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) protected young women from infection with these HPV types at the cervix, anus, and oropharynx—the three primary anatomic sites where persistent HPV infections can cause cancer. The multi-site protection also was observed, though at lower levels, in women previously exposed to the virus.

The findings are among the latest to emerge from the HPV Vaccine Trial in Costa Rica, which was launched a decade ago by NCI, in collaboration with researchers in Costa Rica, to test the efficacy of the bivalent HPV vaccine Cervarix in preventing cervical HPV and pre-cancer in women vaccinated between the ages of 18 to 25.

Previous reports from the trial have demonstrated that the vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV infections in the cervix, anus, or mouth—especially among women not infected prior to vaccination—when these sites were looked at separately.

“This is the first study to analyze multi-site protection,” explained the lead author on the study, Daniel C. Beachler, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

The study appeared October 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Read more in the NCI Cancer Currents Blog.

Reference: Beachler DC, Kreimer AR, Schiffman M, et al. Multisite HPV 16/18 vaccine efficacy against cervical, anal, and oral HPV infection. J Natl Cancer Inst. Published online October 14, 2015.

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NCI Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial