LivingPapillomavirus: the vaccine prevented 90% of cervical tumors

Papillomavirus: the vaccine prevented 90% of cervical tumors

It is estimated that 80% of sexually active people have been (or will be) in contact with some of the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) throughout their lives. This does not necessarily mean that a pathology will develop: only some papillomaviruses cause tumors of the vulva, anus, the cervix, the penis and the mouth, among others; in addition to various benign genital warts.

The usual thing is that some of the types of papillomavirus coexist with the infected person without presenting symptoms throughout their twenties, and the organism ends up eliminating the virus by itself. In many cases, the individual in question will never even be aware of the presence of this virus.

However, as we have mentioned, some types can seriously endanger the health of the affected person, and even his life. For this reason, the HPV vaccine is indicated for both boys and girls between 9 and 14 years of age ; and also for people under the age of 26 who have not received the vaccine during their adolescence.

With a strong commitment to preventing some types of cancer, many countries, mainly high-income and upper-middle-income countries, have implemented vaccination programs against the human papillomavirus (HPV). 47 million women received the full three-dose vaccine cycle in 2014.

Now, international efforts are being rewarded: the effectiveness of the vaccine has been supported by a large international study, which has evaluated 18,247 patients from 50 countries. The result has been more than satisfactory: the papilloma vaccine would have managed to prevent 90% of cervical tumors; and, globally, half of all associated cancers.

To assess the potential impact of HPV vaccines in reducing papillomavirus-related disease, scientists estimated the distribution of HPV type and the burden of vulvar, anal, and head and neck cancers attributable to the types of papillomavirus that can cause them, (types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58, 6 and 11).

This is what cervical cancer looks like under light microscopy./iStock

“Our estimates suggest a potential impact of the HPV vaccine in reducing about 90% of cervical cancer cases and an overall 50% reduction in all cases at HPV-related cancer sites, ” is the conclusion of the researchers, who have reflected in a paper published by the journal Cancer Spectrum.

HPV increases its prevalence

Although it is excellent news that the vaccine is effective in minimizing the incidence of these types of cancer, the human papilloma virus, in its different variants, is progressively spreading through the population.

In cancers that affect the oral cavity, such as the larynx, the researchers also isolated the other risk factors, such as smoking. In doing so, they realized a worrying fact: the study authors warn that the change in sexual and health habits is increasing the prevalence of HPV and, therefore, the prevalence of papillomaviruses as the main cause of these tumors.

Article reference:

Silvia de Sanjosé, Beatriz Serrano, Sara Tous, Maria Alejo, Belén Lloveras, Beatriz Quirós, Omar Clavero, August Vidal, Carla Ferrándiz-Pulido, Miquel Ángel Pavón, Dana Holzinger, Gordana Halec, Massimo Tommasino, Wim Quint, Michael Pawlita, Nubia Muñoz, Francesc Xavier Bosch, Laia Alemany, RIS HPV TT, VVAP and Head and Neck study groups. Burden of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) -Related Cancers Attributable to HPVs 6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52 and 58. JNCI Cancer Spectrum, Volume 2, Issue 4, October 2018, pky045, https: // doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pky045

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