“Our study provides the first direct evidence of the effect of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, using the bivalent Cervarix vaccine, on the frequency of cervical cancer,” summarized the authors of this work published in The Lancet.
Cervical cancers are often the result of a sexually transmitted infection with HPV. Vaccines against it have been available since the mid-2000s.
A campaign among teenagers
Many countries have launched a campaign among teens, with the goal of getting vaccinated before engaging in sexual activity. This is the case of France, which this year expanded it to include young people, even if the coverage rate remains well below target.
Until now, the efficacy of vaccines against the infection itself and against the development of precancerous lesions was well known. But the data were less accurate about the frequency of reported cancers.
This is the contribution of the Lancet study. According to his findings, there is a marked decrease in the incidence of cervical cancer among women eligible for the UK vaccination campaign, which was launched in the late 2000s.
This decrease, measured in relation to the proportion of cases in previous generations, is particularly noted in women who are most likely to have been vaccinated early, at 12 or 13 years of age. In recent years, cervical cancer has almost disappeared there.
These conclusions have limits. Even without vaccination, researchers would only expect a limited number of cancers in this age group, which is only 25 years old today. Therefore, they stress that it will be necessary to continue studying the incidence of cancer in the coming years.
Also, for long-term follow-up, the study only looked at women who had benefited from the emerging British countryside. However, at that time, the Cervarix vaccine, which was produced by the GSK laboratory, was used.
It has since been replaced by Merck’s Gardasil from the US, says MSD outside the US, so the study can’t draw any conclusions.
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