Global vaccination of women with the recently approved, but controversial, cervical cancer vaccine is predicted to prevent 70-80% of these cancers. As T.-C. Wu and Richard Roden discuss in Nature Reviews Cancer (Vol. 6, issue 10), the most effective strategies would involve the mandatory vaccination of girls before they reach sexual maturity and global distribution of the vaccine.
Cervical cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), and a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV has recently been licensed in the United States and Australia and has been recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency. However, opinions about how and when the vaccine should be administered have been controversial.
For example, at what age should girls be vaccinated, and should HPV vaccination be mandatory? The authors provide evidence that it is best to widely administer the vaccine before girls initiate sexual activity, but early mandatory vaccination has encountered resistance, especially from conservative religious groups in the United States. However, the authors argue that because fears of HIV infection are so widespread, HPV vaccination is not likely to promote risky sexual behaviour.
T.-C. Wu (Departments of Pathology, Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Richard Roden (Departments of Pathology, Oncology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Sarah Seton-Rogers (Associate Editor, Nature Reviews Cancer)
(C) Nature Reviews Cancer press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza