New York Times (04.03.12) - Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Vaccination against human papillomavirus may significantly
reduce the likelihood of virus-related disease even in women
who have undergone surgery for HPV-caused cervical cancer, a
new study suggests.
From a large randomized trial of the HPV vaccine's efficacy,
researchers chose a cohort of 1,350 women ages 15 to 26 who
had had surgery for cervical cancer. Among the cohort, 587 had
received the vaccine, while 763 received a placebo.
Vaccine recipients were 46 percent less prone to HPV-related
disease for two subsequent years. Among those with the most
serious cancers, risk was reduced by 64 percent among
vaccinated versus unvaccinated women.
Lead author Dr. Elmar A. Joura said it is widely believed the
vaccine is effective only when administered before sexual
debut, and in fact it is most effective under those
circumstances. But Joura, a Medical University of Vienna
associate professor of gynecology, also touts its importance
for women who have had HPV-related infections and are at high
risk for recurrence.
"Regardless of your age or your history, a vaccination can
prevent new disease," said Joura.
The study, "Effect of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Quadrivalent Vaccine in a Subgroup of Women with Cervical and
Vulvar Disease: Retrospective Pooled Analysis of Trial Data,"
was published in BMJ (2012;344:e1401).