European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology (EJGO) is published by IMR Press from Volume 40 Issue 1 (2019). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with S.O.G.
Prophylactic HPV vaccines
Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), in particular HPV 16 and HPV 18, is the main cause of cervical cancer. Two prophylactic vaccines against types 6, 11, 16 and 18 have shown great promise in clinical trials, with recent results demonstrating 100% efficacy against persistent HPV infection and development of CIN up to five years of follow-up. One of these (Gardasil, recently licensed) contains all four HPV types, offering protection against genital warts (types 6 and 11) as well as cervical cancer. The other (Cervarix) contains types 16 and 18, targeting cervical cancer alone. Recent data suggest a degree of cross-protection, against types 31 and 45; this could significantly increase the level of protection afforded by the vaccines. It is envisaged that girls between 11 and 12 will be the target, and this is what has been recommended in the United States. There is still debate about the issue of vaccinating boys. A fundamental issue is the lack of education of both the public and health professionals about HPV. In theory, an HPV vaccine could prevent almost all cervical cancer, eventually removing the need for cervical smears. However, there is at least one whole generation of women for whom the vaccine will come too late, and who will continue to require screening.