HPV vaccine likely causal in reduced cervical cancer incidence

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Cervix cellsYesterday, we called attention to the introduction of a new, broader-spectrum HPV vaccine, while also bemoaning the fact that this cancer-prevention modality, although proven safe and effective, is not being used at optimal levels. Today, we learn of new reports of the benefits of HPV vaccination in terms of reduced incidence of HPV-related cervical cancers and pre-cancers.

There have been "large and uniform" reductions in the incidence of cervical adenocarcinoma in situ (CIN2+) in U.S. women ages 18 to 20, according to a population-based analysis of trends in the diagnosis of CIN2+. The HPV-IMPACT Project scientists also revealed variable declines in CIN2+ diagnosis in women ages 20 to 29 years. These declines may be the result of new screening guidelines plus the introduction of the HPV vaccine, stated Susan Hariri, PhD, MPH, of the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues.

(One of the members of the HPV-IMPACT study group is Dr. Robert Heimer of Yale University, an ACSH advisor).

"The declines in CIN2+ detection in young women were likely due to reduced screening but could also reflect the impact of vaccination," the authors stated. An editorial in the same journal agreed: the decline in CIN diagnoses is most likely the result of HPV vaccination, but could be at least partially due to variations in screening and diagnosis methods.