BY JOHN SCHIESZER | November 30, 2010
With the increased use of human papillomavirus vaccines such as Gardasil and Cervarix, the medical community is likely to see a decrease in cases of genital warts and other complications caused by several HPV strains. But it may be a decade or two before oncologists can expect to see a decline in cervical cancer rates attributable to the use of these relatively new vaccines.
“We could see some changes in the rates of precancers due to the vaccines in five to 10 years if there is high universal vaccine coverage in five years,” said Lauri Markowitz, MD, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta. “However, it could be a couple of decades before we would expect to see any changes in the cancer rates.”
Dr. Markowitz gave a presentation on HPV and current HPV immunization practices at the 2010 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) meeting. She pointed out that 44% of age-appropriate girls in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of Gardasil and 27% have received all three doses.
On October 16, 2009, the FDA licensed Gardasil for use in boys and young men aged nine through 26 years for prevention of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. This vaccine previously had been licensed in 2006 for use in girls and young women aged nine through 26 years for prevention of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18-related outcomes (vaginal, vulvar, and cervical precancers and cancers and genital warts).
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended routine vaccination of girls at age 11 or 12 and catch-up vaccination for girls and young women aged 13 through 26 years. On October 21, 2009, ACIP provided guidance that Gardasil may be given to boys and young men aged nine through 26 years to reduce their likelihood of acquiring and/or passing on genital warts. However, ACIP did not recommend routine delivery of Gardasil for boys.