Nine-Valent HPV Vaccine Protects Against 80% of Cervical Cancers


Key Points

  • The vaccine is most effective when given to adolescent-aged children, before they are exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • The first vaccines on the market protected against the cancer-causing HPV types 16 and 18. The nine-valent vaccine protects against types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.
  • The nine-valent vaccine was also found to potentially increase protection from HPV-related cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, and anus.

The new nine-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil 9) can potentially prevent 80% of cervical cancers in the United States, if given to all 11- or 12-year-old children before they are exposed to the virus. Additionally, the new vaccine, which includes seven cancer-causing HPV-types—16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58—has the potential to protect against nearly 19,000 other cancers diagnosed in the United States, including anal, oropharyngeal, and penile cancers. This is a 13% increase in protection against HPV-related cancers in comparison to the first vaccines on the market, the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil and the bivalent vaccine Cervarix, which protected against HPV types 16 and 18.

These findings come from a seven-center study published by Saraiya et al in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiated the research effort, in conjunction with Cedars-Sinai.

“This is the first comprehensive study of its kind and shows the potential to not only reduce the global cancer burden, but also guide clinical decision-making with regard to childhood vaccinations,” said Marc T. Goodman, PhD, MPH, Director of Cancer Prevention and Genetics at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Additional Benefits

The study found the nine-valent vaccine also has the potential to protect against an additional 8% of oropharyngeal cancers, which include the base of the tongue and tonsils. This disease is the second most common HPV-associated cancer.

“We found that 70% of patient DNA tissue samples with cancer of the oropharynx harbored HPV,” added Dr. Goodman. “This is a much higher percentage of HPV than observed in other studies, likely because of changes in sexual behaviors, such as increased oral-genital contact.”

The nine-valent vaccine was also found to potentially increase protection from other HPV-related cancers including those of the vulva (from 71% to 92%), vagina (from 73% to 98%), penis (76% to 90%), and anus (87% to 96%).

To compile these data, researchers examined 2,670 HPV DNA tissue samples from seven population-based cancer registries.

Study authors intend to perform additional research in the future to follow up on their estimate of how well the current vaccines protect against HPV-associated cancers.

Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH, is the corresponding author of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute article.

This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Health Services, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.