A recent study of young adults who received at least one dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine showed a 88 percent lower rate of oral HPV infections versus those who had not received the vaccine, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) said.
“The HPV vaccine has the potential to be one of the most significant cancer prevention tools ever developed, and it’s already reducing the world’s burden of cervical cancers,” ASCO President-elect Bruce Johnson said in a release. “The hope is that vaccination will also curb rising rates of HPV-related oral and genital cancers, which are hard to treat. This study confirms that the HPV vaccine can prevent oral HPV infections, but we know it only works if it’s used.”
Researchers analyzed data on 2,627 young adults ages 18 to 33 taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of Americans from 2009 through 2016. They compared those who had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine used at the time to those who had not received the vaccine.
Oral HPV infections covered by the vaccine were 88 percent lower in the vaccinated young adults. In contrast, infection by the 33 oral HPV types not covered by the vaccine was nearly the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated young adults.
While the vaccine may provide protection against oral HPV infections, the vaccination rates remain low in the U.S.
“While we were encouraged that there was a notable impact of the vaccine on oral HPV infections among vaccinated individuals, that benefit was modest overall and lower than we would hope in men due to low vaccine uptake,” Dr. Maura Gillison, senior study author, said in the release.