Nine-Valent HPV Vaccine May Prevent Nearly 90% of Cervical Cancers

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Despite the clear safety profile of the currently disseminated HPV vaccines, uptake in the United States and other resource-rich countries has been inadequate.

—Elmar A. Joura, MD

Because nine human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes were found to cause the majority of cervical precancers, a nine-valent HPV vaccine currently being investigated may be able to prevent more cervical cancers than current vaccines, according to research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.1

“We wanted to study how many cervical precancers could potentially be prevented by an investigational nine-valent HPV vaccine that provides protection against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58,” said Elmar A. Joura, MD, Associate Professor of Gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. “Approximately 85% or more of precancerous lesions of the cervix were attributed to the nine HPV types covered in the vaccine; therefore, if nine-valent HPV vaccination programs are effectively implemented, the majority of these lesions could be prevented.”

“Given the high vaccine efficacy that was observed in a large phase III clinical trial testing the nine-valent HPV vaccine, if vaccination programs with this new-generation vaccine are effectively implemented, approximately 90% of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide could be prevented, in addition to the majority of precancerous lesions,” he added.

“Despite the clear safety profile of the currently disseminated HPV vaccines, uptake in the United States and other resource-rich countries has been inadequate,” said Dr. Joura. “To achieve the population-level potential of the HPV vaccine to reduce cancer, vaccine uptake must increase.”

Study Details

Dr. Joura and colleagues used data from 12,514 women, ages 15 to 45, enrolled in the placebo arms of three clinical trials testing a quadrivalent HPV vaccine. Among these women, 2,507 were diagnosed with CIN1, CIN2, CIN3, or adenocarcinoma in situ. The researchers estimated the number of precancers harboring the HPV types included in an investigational nine-valent HPV vaccine being developed by Merck.

After adjusting for the presence of multiple HPV subtypes in a single lesion, they found that seven high-risk HPV types included in the nine-valent vaccine were present in about 55% of CIN 1, about 78% of CIN 2, about 91% of CIN 3, and nearly 100% of adenocarcinoma in situ lesions. ■

Disclosure: This study was funded by Merck. Dr. Joura received grant support paid to his institution by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, advisory board fees from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and lecture fees from Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Merck, and Roche.


1. Joura EA, et al: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 23:1997-2008, 2014.