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06-06-2017 | Head and neck cancer | News | Article

ASCO 2017

HPV vaccination ‘tremendous potential’ for prevention of oral HPV infection

medwireNews: Routine vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) has “tremendous potential” for reducing the risk of oral HPV infection and associated malignancy, suggests research presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, held in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

“HPV vaccines likely provide benefits beyond prevention of anogenital cancer,” presenting author Maura Gillison, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, USA, commented at a press conference.

But she cautioned that “[c]linical trials would be required to demonstrate a cause-effect.”

Gillison explained that oropharynx cancer is the fastest rising tumour type in young White US men with over 90% of cases associated with HPV-16 infection.

Vaccination against HPV-16, -18, -6 and -11 is now recommended for all US females aged 9–26 years and US males aged 9–21 (to age 26 for men who sleep with men), although oral precancer or risk of oral cancer is not a listed indication for vaccination.

Gillison et al collated National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data for 2011–2014 for 2627 participants aged 18–33 years. In all, 18.3% of the group had received at least one dose of HPV vaccine, including 29.2% of women and 6.9% of men.

Oral rinses revealed that HPV-16, -18, -6 and -11 infection was present in 0.11% of vaccinated participants versus 1.6% of non-vaccinated individuals, with corresponding rates in men of 0.00% versus 2.1%. This translated to a significant 88% overall reduction in HPV infection and a 100% reduction in men.

“HPV vaccines have tremendous potential to prevent oral HPV-16/18/6/11 infections,” Gillison said, but she explained that low vaccination uptake has limited the impact of HPV infection prevention in the population.

“HPV vaccination is strongly recommended,” she concluded, citing support for the prophylaxis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommendations for the prophylaxis.

ASCO President-Elect, Bruce Johnson commented on the findings in a press release. “The hope is that vaccination will also curb rising rates of HPV-related oral and genital cancers, which are hard to treat,” he said.

“This study confirms that the HPV vaccine can prevent oral HPV infections, but we know it only works if it’s used.”

By Lynda Williams

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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