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Progress in prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in 2016: A literature review

Maver, Polona J., Poljak, Mario
Vaccine 2018 v.36 no.36 pp. 5416-5423
Geographical Locations, Papillomaviridae, adults, clinical trials, females, humans, immune response, males, screening, uterine cervical neoplasms, vaccination, vaccines, warts, women
Prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine represents a revolutionary step forward in preventing HPV-related cancers, especially cervical carcinoma. Alongside appropriate screening, it has the potential to dramatically reduce cervical cancer incidence and even eradicate it. Following extensive evaluations in clinical trials, the first decade of routine HPV vaccine use provides overwhelming evidence of the vaccines’ safety and their real-life effectiveness. In 2016, further clinical trials showed high vaccine efficacy in adult women, especially those that were HPV DNA-negative at baseline, and indicated possible protection from HPV-related diseases after treatment of precancerous cervical lesions. The recommendation for a two-dose schedule in individuals under 15 is further supported for all three licensed vaccines by immunogenicity studies that show non-inferior immune responses and similar clinical efficacy compared to the three-dose schedule. So far, natural competition between HPV types has not been confirmed and therefore vaccine-induced clinically significant type replacement is unlikely. The real-world effectiveness data showed cross-sectional reduction in the prevalence/incidence of vaccine-related HPV types, genital warts and precancerous cervical lesions in countries and regions with HPV vaccination coverage. These declines were evident not only in vaccinated females, but also in unvaccinated females and males, strongly suggesting herd protection. Despite an excellent safety profile consistently demonstrated in clinical trials and confirmed in real-life settings, recently invented controversial syndromes allegedly linked to HPV vaccines temporarily compromised some previously very successful vaccination programs and significantly contributed to the failure of HPV vaccine implementation in some countries with the highest prevalence of cervical cancer. However, several safety studies failed to confirm any association of these syndromes with HPV vaccination in various settings and geographic locations. The main challenges remain implementing HPV vaccination in national vaccination programs, especially in low-and middle-income countries with the highest burden of cervical cancer, and achieving and sustaining high vaccine coverage rates.