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HPV Vaccines May Reduce Wide Range of Genital Diseases

High-coverage human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations among adolescent and young women may result in a rapid reduction of genital warts, cervical cell abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, researchers report in a new study published online February 5 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Some of these genital abnormalities are precursors of cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. The study focused on 17,622 women enrolled in one of two randomized, placebo-controlled, efficacy trials for the HPV6/11/16/18 vaccine. All women underwent cervicovaginal sampling and Pap testing. In the group representing uninfected women, vaccination was up to 100% effective in reducing the risk of HPV16/18-related high-grade cervical, vulvar, and vaginal lesions and in reducing the risk of HPV6/11-related genital warts. In the group representing the general population, vaccination reduced the risk of any lesion, genital warts, Pap abnormalities, and definitive therapy, irrespective of HPV type. The reduction in risk was statistically significant. "Our results provide strong evidence to suggest that the ongoing HPV vaccination programs in adolescent girls and young women will result within a few years in a notable reduction of genital warts, cervical cytological abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures related to precursor lesions in the cervix, vulva, and vagina," the authors wrote. "It is anticipated that these reductions will eventually translate into lower rates of cancer of the cervix, vulva, and vagina." [Press release] [JNCI abstract]